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M.A,  Ph.D. 



'A  little  child  shall  lead  them."  —  Isaiah  xL  6. 
'For  of  such  is  the  Kingdom  of  Heaven."  —  Je*u4. 




All  riffhit  reserved 

COPTKIGHT,    1896, 


"^  NoriBOOlJ  53«28 

^         /   d  J.  S.  Gushing  k  Co.  —  Berwick  &  Smith 

#  J  Norwood  Mass.  U.S.A. 




"  Vom  Vater  hab'  ich  die  Statiir, 
Des  Lebens  emstes  Fiihren ; 
Vom  Miitterchen  die  Frohnatur 
Und  Last  zu  fabulieren."  —  Goethe. 


The  present  volume  is  an  elaboration  and  amplification  of 
lectures  on  "The  Child  in  Folk-Thought,"  delivered  by  the 
writer  at  the  summer  school  held  at  Clark  University  in  1894. 
In  connection  with  the  interesting  topic  of  "  Child-Study  "  which 
now  engages  so  much  the  attention  of  teachers  and  parents,  an 
attempt  is  here  made  to  indicate  some  of  the  chief  child-activities 
among  primitive  peoples  and  to  point  out  in  some  respects  their 
survivals  in  the  social  institutions  and  culture-movements  of 
to-day.  The  point  of  view  to  be  kept  in  mind  is  the  child 
and  what  he  has  done,  or  is  said  to  have  done,  in  all  ages  and 
among  all  races  of  men. 

For  all  statements  and  citations  references  are  given,  and  the 
writer  has  made  every  effort  to  place  himself  in  the  position  of 
those  whose  opinion  he  records,  —  receiving  and  reporting  with- 
out distortion  or  alteration. 

He  begs  to  return  to  his  colleagues  in  the  University,  especially 
to  its  distinguished  president,  the  genius  of  the  movement  for 
"  Child-Study "  in  America,  and  to  the  members  of  the  summer 
school  of  1894,  whose  kind  appreciation  of  his  efforts  has  mainly 
led  to  the  publication  of  this  work,  his  sincerest  gratitude  for 
the  sympathy  and  encouragement  which  they  have  so  often 
exhibited  and  expressed  with  regard  to  the  present  and  allied 
subjects  of  study  and  investigation  in  the  field  of  Anthropology, 
pedagogical  and  psychologicaL 


Cl-ARK  UxivERsrrY, 
Worcester,  Mass.,  April,  1895. 



I.      CHlLI>-STtTDT 1 

n.  The  Child's  Tribute  to  the  Mother        ....  7 

m.  The  Child's  Tribute  to  the  Mother     (Continued)        .  28 

rV.  The  Child's  Tribute  to  the  Father         ....  52 

V.    The  Name  Child 75 

VI.  The  Child  in  the  Primitite  Laboratory        ...  89 

VII.  The  Bright  Side  of  Child-Life  :  Parektal  Affection  .  104 

Vni.     Childhood  the  Golden  Age 130 

IX.     Children's  Food 144 

X.     Children's  Souls 152 

XI.  Children's  rLO\rERS,  Plants,  and  Trees          .        .        .  160 

Xn.    Children's  Animals,  Birds,  etc 171 

Xm.  Child-Life  and  Education  in  General     ....  192 

XIV.  The  Child  as  Member  and  Builder  of  Societt     .        .  213 

XV.     The  Child  as  Linguist 248 

XVI.     The  Child  as  Actor  and  Inventor 270 

XVn.     The  Child  as  Poet  and  Musician 276 

XViJJ.  The  Child  as  Teacher  and  Wiseacre      ....  282 

XIX.     The  Child  as  Judge 286 

XX.  The  Child  as  Oracle-Keeper  and  Oracle-Interpreter  293 

XXI.    The  Child  as  Weather-Maker 301 

XXII.  The  Child  as  Healer  and  Phtsician        ....  309 

XXIII.     The  Child  as  Shaman  and  Priest 319 

XXrV.     The  Child  as  Hero,  Adventurer,  etc 329 


X  Contents. 


XXV.    The  Child  as  Fbtich  and  Divinity 348 

XXVI.     The  Child  as  God:  The  Chkist-Child     .        .        .        .360 
XXVII.     Proverbs,   Sayings,  etc.,  about  Parents,  Father  and 

Mother 376 

XXVIII.     Proverbs,   Sayings,  etc.,  about  the   Child,   Mankind, 

Genius 379 

XXIX.     Proverbs,  Sayings,  etc.,  about  Mother  and  Child       .  382 

XXX.     Proverbs,  Sayings,  etc.,  about  Father  and  Child       .  387 
XXXI.    Proverbs,  Sayings,  etc.,  about  Childhood,  Youth,  and 

Age 390 

XXXII.    Proverbs,  Sayings,  etc.,  about  the  Child  and  Child- 
hood            394 

Index  to  Proverbs 401 

XXXIII.     Conclusion      .        . 403 

Bibliography 405 

Subject-index  to  Section  A  of  Bibliography        .        .  414 

Subject-index  to  Section  B  of  Bibltoobaphy        .        .  425 

Index      I.  —  Authorities 435 

Index    II. — Places,  Peoples,  Tribes,  Languages    ....  441 

Index  III.  —  Subjects 448 



Oneness  with  Nature  is  the  glory  of  Childhood ;  oneness  with  Childhood  is  the 
glory  of  the  Teacher.  —  G.  Stanley  Hall. 

Homes  ont  I'estre  comme  metanlx. 

Vie  et  augment  des  vegetaulx, 

Instinct  et  sens  comme  les  bruts, 

Esprit  comme  anges  en  attributs. 

[Man  has  as  attributes :  Being  like  metals, 

Life  and  growth  like  plants, 

Instinct  and  sense  like  animals, 

Mind  like  angels.]  —  Jehan  de  Meung. 

The  Child  is  Father  of  the  Man.  —  Wmrdtvxyrth. 

And  he  [Jesus]  called  to  him  a  little  child,  and  set  him  in  the  midst  of  them.  — 
Matthew  xviii.  2. 

It  was  an  Oriental  poet  who  sang:  — 

*'  On  parent  knees,  a  naked,  new-bom  child, 
Weeping  thou  sat'st,  while  all  around  thee  smiled ; 
So  live,  that,  sinking  in  thy  last,  long  sleep, 
Calm  thou  mayst  smile,  while  all  around  thee  weep," 

and  not  so  very  long  ago  even  the  anthropologist  seemed  satisfied 
with  the  approximation  of  childhood  and  old  age,  —  one  glance 
at  the  babe  in  the  cradle,  one  look  at  the  graybeard  on  his  death- 
bed, gave  all  the  knowledge  desired  or  sought  for.  Man,  big, 
burly,  healthy,  omniscient,  was  the  subject  of  all  investigation. 

B  1 

2  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

But  now  a  change  lias  come  over  the  face  of  things.  As  did.  that 
great  teacher  of  old,  so,  in  our  day,  has  one  of  the  ministers  of 
science  "  called  to  him  a  little  child  and  set  him  in  the  midst  of 
them,"  —  greatest  in  the  kingdom  of  anthropology  is  assuredly 
that  little  child,  as  we  were  told  centuries  ago,  by  the  prophet  of 
Galilee,  that  he  is  greatest  in  the  kingdom  of  heaven.  The  child, 
together  with  woman,  who,  in  so  many  respects  in  which  the 
essential  human  characteristics  are  concerned,  so  much  resembles 
him,  is  now  beyond  doubt  the  most  prominent  figure  in  indi- 
vidual, as  well  as  in  racial,  anthropology.  Dr.  D.  G.  Brinton,  in 
an  appreciative  notice  of  the  recent  volume  on  Man  and  Woman, 
by  Havelock  Ellis,  in  which  the  secondary  sexual  differences 
between  the  male  and  the  female  portions  of  the  human  race  are 
so  well  set  forth  and  discussed,  remarks :  "  The  child,  the  infant 
in  fact,  alone  possesses  in  their  fulness  'the  chief  distinctive 
characters  of  humanity.  The  highest  human  types,  as  repre- 
sented in  men  of  genius,  present  a  striking  approximation  to  the 
child-type.  In  man,  from  about  the  third  year  onward,  further 
growth  is  to  some  extent  growth  in  degeneration  and  senility.' 
Hence  the  true  tendency  of  the  progressive  evolution  of  the  race 
is  to  become  child-like,  to  become  feminine."    {Psych.  Rev.  I.  533.) 

As  Dr.  Brinton  notes,  in  this  sense  women  are  leading  evolution 
—  Goethe  was  right:  Das  Ewig-weiblklie  zieht  uns  hinan.  But 
here  belongs  also  the  child-human,  and  he  was  right  in  very  truth 
who  said :  "  A  little  child  shall  lead  them."  What  new  meaning 
flashes  into  the  words  of  the  Christ,  who,  after  declaring  that 
"  the  kingdom  of  God  cometh  not  with  observation :  neither  shall 
they  say,  Lo,  here !  or,  There  !  for  lo,  the  kingdom  of  God  is 
within  you,"  in  rebuke  of  the  Pharisees,  in  rebuke  of  his  own 
disciples,  "called  to  him  a  little  child  and  set  him  in  the  midst 
of  them,  and  said.  Verily  I  say  unto  you.  Except  ye  turn,  and 
become  as  little  children,  ye  shall  in  no  wise  enter  into  the  king- 
dom of  heaven."  Even  physically,  the  key  to  the  kingdom  of 
heaven  lies  in  childhood's  keeping. 

Vast  indeed  is  now  the  province  of  him  who  studies  the  child. 
In  Somatology,  —  the  science  of  the  physical  characteristics  and 
constitution  of  the  body  and  its  members,  —  he  seeks  not  alone 
to  observe  the  state  and  condition  of  the  skeleton  and  its  integu- 
ments during  life,  but  also  to  ascertain  their  nature  and  character 

CTiild- Study.  S* 

in  the  period  of  prenatal  existence,  as  well  as  when  causes  natu- 
ral, or  unnatural,  disease,  the  exhaustion  of  old  age,  violence,  or 
the  like,  have  induced  the  dissolution  of  death. 

In  Linguistics  and  Philology,  he  endeavours  to  discover  the 
essence  and  import  of  those  manifold,  inarticulate,  or  unintelli- 
gible sounds,  which,  with  the  long  flight  of  time,  develop  into  the 
splendidly  rounded  periods  of  a  Webster  or  a  Gladstone,  or  swell 
nobly  in  the  rhythmic  beauties  of  a  Swinburne  or  a  Tennyson. 

In  Art  and  Technology,  he  would  faiu  fathom  the  depths  of 
those  rude  scribblings  and  quaint  efforts  at  delineation,  whence, 
in  the  course  of  ages,  have  been  evolved  the  wonders  of  the 
alphabet  and  the  marvellous  creations  of  a  Eubens  and  an 

In  Psychology,  he  seeks  to  trace,  ia  childish  prattlings  and  lore 
of  the  nursery,  the  far-off  beginnings  of  mythology,  philosophy, 
religion.  Beside  the  stories  told  to  children  in  explanation  of 
the  birth  of  a  sister  or  a  brother,  and  the  children's  own  imagin- 
ings concerning  the  little  new-comer,  he  may  place  the  specula- 
tions of  sages  and  theologians  of  all  races  and  of  all  ages  concerning 
birth,  death,  immortality,  and  the  future  life,  which,  growing  with 
the  centuries,  have  ripened  into  the  rich  and  wholesome  dogmas  of 
the  church. 

Ethnology,  with  its  broad  sweep  over  ages  and  races  of  men, 
its  searchings  into  the  origins  of  nations  and  of  civilizations,  illu- 
mined by  the  light  of  Evolution,  suggests  that  in  the  growth  of 
the  child  from  helpless  infancy  to  adolescence,  and  through  the 
strong  and  trying  development  of  manhood  to  the  idiosyncrasies 
of  disease  and  senescence,  we  have  an  epitome  in  miniature  of  the 
life  of  the  race ;  that  in  primitive  tribes,  and  in  those  members  of 
our  civilized  communities,  whose  growth  upward  and  onward  has 
been  retarded  by  inherited  tendencies  which  it  has  been  out  of 
their  power  to  overcome,  or  by  a  milieu  and  environment,  the 
control  and  subjugation  of  which  required  faculties  and  abilities 
they  did  not  possess,  we  see,  as  it  were,  ethnic  children ;  that  in 
the  nursery,  the  asylum,  the  jail,  the  mountain  fastnesses  of 
earth,  or  the  desert  plains,  peopled  by  races  whose  ways  are  not 
our  ways,  whose  criteria  of  culture  are  far  below  ours,  we  have 
a  panorama  of  what  has  transpired  since,  alone  and  face  to  face 
with  a  new  existence,  the  first  human  beings  partook  of  the  fmit 

'4  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

of  the  tree  of  knowledge  and  became  conscious  of  the  great  gulf, 
which,  after  millenniums  of  struggle  and  fierce  competition,  had 
opened  between  the  new,  intelligent,  speaking  anthropoids  and 
their  fellows  who  straggled  so  far  behind. 

Wordsworth  has  said :  "  The  child  is  father  of  the  man,"  and 
a  German  writer  has  expanded  the  same  thought :  — 

"Die  Kindheit  von  heute 
1st  die  Menschheit  von  morgen, 
Die  Kindheit  von  heute 
1st  die  Menschheit  von  gestem." 
["The  childhood  of  to-day 
Is  the  manhood  of  to-morrow, 
The  childhood  of  to-day 
Is  the  manhood  of  yesterday."] 

In  brief,  the  child  is  father  of  the  man  and  brother  of  the  race. 

In  all  ages,  and  with  every  people,  the  arcana  of  life  and  death, 
the  mysteries  of  birth,  childhood,  puberty,  adolescence,  maiden- 
hood, womanhood,  manhood,  motherhood,  fatherhood,  have  called 
forth  the  profoundest  thought  and  speculation.  From  the  con- 
templation of  these  strange  phenomena  sprang  the  esoteric  doc- 
trines of  Egypt  and  the  East,  with  their  horrible  accompaniments 
of  vice  and  depravity ;  the  same  thoughts,  low  and  terrible,  hov- 
ered before  the  devotees  of  Moloch  and  Cybele,  when  Carthage 
sent  her  innocent  boys  to  the  furnace,  a  sacrifice  to  the  king  of 
gods,  and  Asia  Minor  offered  up  the  virginity  of  her  fairest  daugh- 
ters to  the  first-comer  at  the  altars  of  the  earth-mother.  Purified 
and  ennobled  by  long  centuries  of  development  and  unfolding,  the 
blossoming  of  such  conceptions  is  seen  in  the  great  sacrifice  which 
the  Son  of  Man  made  for  the  children  of  men,  and  in  the  cardinal 
doctrine  of  the  religion  which  he  founded,  —  "Ye  must  be  born 
again,"  —  the  regeneration,  which  alone  gave  entrance  into  Para- 

The  Golden  Age  of  the  past  of  which,  through  the  long  lapse 
of  years,  dreamers  have  dreamt  and  poets  sung,  and  the  Golden 
City,  glimpses  of  whose  glorious  portal  have  flashed  through  the 
prayers  and  meditations  of  the  rapt  enthusiast,  seem  but  one  in 
their  foundation,  as  the  Eden  of  the  world's  beginning  and  the 
heaven  that  shall  open  to  men's  eyes,  when  time  shall  be  no 

Child -Study.  6 

more,  are  but  closely  allied  phases,  nay,  but  one  and  the  same 
phase,  rather,  of  the  world-old  thought, — the  ethnic  might  have 
been,  the  ought  to  be  of  all  the  ages.  The  imagined,  retrospect 
childhood  of  the  past  is  twin-born  with  the  ideal,  prospective 
childhood  of  the  world  to  come.  Here  the  savage  and  the  phi- 
losopher, the  child  and  the  genius,  meet ;  the  wisdom  of  the  first 
and  of  the  last  century  of  human  existence  is  at  one.  Childhood 
is  the  mirror  in  which  these  reflections  are  cast,  —  the  childhood 
of  the  race  is  depicted  with  the  same  colours  as  the  childhood  of 
the  individual.  We  can  read  a  larger  thought  into  the  words  of 
Hartley  Coleridge :  — 

"Oh  what  a  wilderness  were  this  sad  world. 
If  man  were  always  man,  and  never  child." 

Besides  the  anthropometric  and  psycho-physical  investigations 
of  the  child  carried  on  in  the  scientific  laboratory  with  exact 
instruments  and  unexceptionable  methods,  there  is  another  field 
of  "  Child-Study  "  well  worthy  our  attention  for  the  light  it  can 
shed  upon  some  of  the  dark  places  in  the  wide  expanse  of  peda- 
gogical science  and  the  art  of  education. 

Its  laboratory  of  research  has  been  the  whole  wide  world,  the 
experimenters  and  recorders  the  primitive  peoples  of  all  races 
and  all  centuries,  —  fathers  and  mothers  whom  the  wonderland 
of  parenthood  encompassed  and  entranced;  the  subjects,  the 
children  of  all  the  generations  of  mankind. 

The  consideration  of  "The  Child  in  Folk-Thought,"  —  what 
tribe  upon  tribe,  age  after  age,  has  thought  about,  ascribed  to, 
dreamt  of,  learned  from,  taught  to,  the  child,  the  parent-lore  of 
the  human  race,  in  its  development  through  savagery  and  bar- 
barism to  civilization  and  culture,  —  can  bring  to  the  harvest  of 
pedagogy  many  a  golden  sheaf. 

The  works  of  Dr.  Ploss,  Das  Meine  Kind,  Das  Kind,  and  Das 
Weib,  encyclopaedic  in  character  as  the  two  last  are,  covering 
a  vast  field  of  research  relating  to  the  anatomy,  physiology, 
hygiene,  dietetics,  and  ceremonial  treatment  of  child  and  mother, 
of  girl  and  boy,  all  over  the  world,  and  forming  a  huge  mine  of 
information  concerning  child-birth,  motherhood,  sex-phenomena, 
and  the  like,  have  still  left  some  aspects  of  the  anthropology  of 
childhood  practically  untouched.     In  English,  the  child  has,  as 

6  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

yet,  found  no  chronicler  and  historian  such  as  Ploss.  The  object 
of  the  present  writer  is  to  treat  of  the  child  from  a  point  of  view 
hitherto  entirely  neglected,  to  exhibit  what  the  world  owes  to 
childhood  and  the  motherhood  and  the  fatherhood  which  it  occa- 
sions, to  indicate  the  position  of  the  child  in  the  march  of  civili- 
zation among  the  various  races  of  men,  and  to  estimate  the 
influence  which  the  child-idea  and  its  accompaniments  have  had 
upon  sociology,  mythology,  religion,  language ;  for  the  touch  of 
the  child  is  upon  them  all,  and  the  debt  of  humanity  to  the  little 
children  has  not  yet  been  told.  They  have  figured  in  the  world's 
history  and  its  folk-lore  as  magi  and  "  medicine-men,"  as  priests 
and  oracle-keepers,  as  physicians  and  healers,  as  teachers  and 
judges,  as  saints,  heroes,  discoverers,  and  inventors,  as  musicians 
and  poets,  actors  and  labourers  in  many  fields  of  human  activity, 
have  been  compared  to  the  foolish  and  to  the  most  wise,  have 
been  looked  upon  as  fetiches  and  as  gods,  as  the  fit  sacrifice  to 
offended  Heaven,  and  as  the  saviours  and  regenerators  of  mankind. 
The  history  of  the  child  in  human  society  and  of  the  human  ideas 
and  institutions  which  have  sprung  from  its  consideration  can  have 
here  only  a  beginning.  This  book  is  written  in  full  sympathy 
with  the  thought  expressed  in  the  words  of  the  Latin  poet 
Juvenal:  Maxima  debetur  pueris  reverentia,  and  in  the  declara- 
tion of  Jean  Paul :  "  I  love  God  and  every  little  child." 


The  Child's  Tribute  to  the  Mother. 

A  good  mother  is  worth  a  hundred  schoolmasters. — English  Proverb. 

The  first  poet,  the  first  priest,  was  the  first  mother. 

The  first  empire  was  a  woman  and  her  children.  —  0.  T.  Mason. 

When  society,  under  the  guidance  of  the  "  fathers  of  the  church,"  went  almost 
to  destruction  in  the  dark  ages,  it  was  the  "mothers  of  the  people"  who  saved 
it  and  set  it  going  on  the  new  right  path.  —  Zmigrodski  (adapted). 

The  story  of  civilization  is  the  story  of  the  mother.  —  Zmigrodski. 

One  mother  is  more  venerable  than  a  thousand  fathers.  —  Laws  of  Manu. 

If  the  world  were  put  into  one  scale,  and  my  mother  into  the  other,  the  world 
would  kick  the  beam. — Lord  Langdale. 

Names  of  the  Mother. 

In  a  Song  of  Life,  —  a  book  in  -whicli  the  topic  of  sex  is  treated 
with  such  delicate  skill,  —  occurs  this  sentence:  "The  mother- 
hood of  mammalian  life  is  the  most  sacred  thing  in  physical 
existence  "  (120.  92),  and  Professor  Drummond  closes  his  LoiceU 
Institute  Lectures  on  the  Evolution  of  Man  in  the  following  words  : 
"  It  is  a  fact  to  which  too  little  significance  has  been  given,  that 
the  whole  work  of  organic  nature  culminates  in  the  making  of 
Mothers  —  that  the  animal  series  end  with  a  group  which  even 
the  naturalist  has  been  forced  to  call  the  Mammalia.  When  the 
savage  mother  awoke  to  her  first  tenderness,  a  new  creative  hand 
was  at  work  in  the  world  "  (36.  240).  Said  Henry  Ward  Beecher : 
"  When  God  thought  of  Mother,  he  must  have  laughed  with  satis- 
faction, and  framed  it  quickly,  —  so  rich,  so  deep,  so  divine,  so 
full  of  soul,  power,  and  beauty,  was  the  conception,"  and  it  was 
unto  babes  and  sucklings  that  this  wisdom  was  first  revealed. 
From  their  lips  first  fell  the  sound  which  parents  of  later  ages 


8  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

consecrated  and  preserved  to  all  time.  With  motherhood  came 
into  the  world  song,  religion,  the  thought  of  immortality  itself ; 
and  the  mother  and  the  child,  in  the  course  of  the  ages,  invented 
and  preserved  most  of  the  arts  and  the  graces  of  human  life  and 
human  culture.  In  language,  especially,  the  mother  and  the  child 
have  exercised  a  vast  influence.  In  the  names  for  "  mother,"  the 
various  races  have  recognized  the  debt  they  owe  to  her  who  is 
the  "  fashioner "  of  the  child,  its  "  nourisher "  and  its  "  nurse." 
An  examination  of  the  etymologies  of  the  words  for  "mother" 
in  all  known  languages  is  obviously  impossible,  for  the  last 
speakers  and  interpreters  of  many  of  the  unwritten  tongues  of 
the  earth  are  long  since  dead  and  gone.  How  primitive  man  — 
the  first  man  of  the  race — called  his  mother,  we  can  but  surmise. 
Still,  a  number  of  interesting  facts  are  known,  and  some  of  these 

The  word  mother  is  one  of  the  oldest  in  the  language ;  one  of 
the  very  few  words  found  among  all  the  great  branches  of  the 
widely  scattered  Aryan  race,  bearing  witness,  in  ages  far  remote, 
before  the  Celt,  the  Teuton,  the  Hellene,  the  Latin,  the  Slav,  and 
the  Indo-Iranian  were  known,  to  the  existence  of  the  family, 
with  the  mother  occupying  a  high  and  honourable  place,  if  not 
indeed  the  highest  place  of  all.  What  the  etymological  meaning 
was,  of  the  primitive  Aryan  word  from  which  our  mother  is  de- 
scended, is  uncertain.  It  seems,  however,  to  be  a  noun  derived, 
with  the  agent-suffix  -t-r,  from  the  root  ma,  "  to  measure."  Skeat 
thinks  the  word  meant  originally  "manager,  regulator  [of  the 
household],"  rejecting,  as  unsupported  by  sufficient  evidence,  a 
suggested  interpretation  as  the  "  producer."  Kluge,  the  German 
lexicographer,  hesitates  between  the  "  apportioner,  measurer," 
and  the  "former  [of  the  embryo  in  the  womb]."  In  the  language 
of  the  Klamath  Indians  of  Oregon,  p'gishaj),  "mother,"  really 
signifies  the  "maker." 

The  Karankawas  of  Texas  called  "mother,"  Jcanhima,  the 
"suckler,"  from  kanin,  "the  female  breast."  In  Latin  mamma 
seems  to  signify  "  teat,  breast,"  as  well  as  "  mother,"  but  Skeat 
doubts  whether  there  are  not  two  distinct  words  here.  In  Fin- 
nish and  some  other  primitive  languages  a  similar  resemblance 
or  identity  exists  between  the  words  for  "  breast "  and  "  mother." 
In  Lithuanian,  m6t-e  —  cognate  with  our  mother — signifies  "wife," 

Lore  of  Motherhood.  9 

and  in  the  language  of  the  Caddo  Indians  of  Louisiana  and  Texas 
sdssin  means  both  "  wife  "  and  "  mother."  The  familiar  "  mother  " 
of  the  New  England  farmer  of  the  "  Old  Homestead  "  t3'pe,  pre- 
sents,- perhaps,  a  relic  of  the  same  thought.  The  word  dame,  in 
older  English,  from  being  a  title  of  respect  for  women  —  there  is 
a  close  analogy  in  the  history  of  sire  —  came  to  signify  "  mother." 
Chaucer  translates  the  French  of  the  Romaunt  of  the  Rose,  "  En- 
fant qui  craint  ni  pere  ni  mere  Ne  pent  que  bien  ne  le  comperre," 
by  "  For  who  that  dredeth  sire  ne  dame  Shall  it  abie  in  bodie  or 
name,"  and  Shakespeare  makes  poor  Caliban  declare :  *'  I  never 
saw  a  woman,  But  only  Sycorax,  my  dam."  Nowadays,  the  word 
dam  is  applied  only  to  the  female  parent  of  animals,  horses  espe- 
cially. The  word,  which  is  one  with  the  honourable  appellation 
dame,  goes  back  to  the  Latin  doviina,  "  mistress,  lady,"  the  femi- 
nine of  dominus,  "lord,  master."  In  not  a  few  languages,  the 
words  for  "father"  and  "mother"  are  derived  from  the  same 
root,  or  one  from  the  other,  by  simple  phonetic  change.  Thus, 
in  the  Sandeh  language  of  Central  Africa,  "mother"  is  n-amu, 
"father,"  b-amu;  in  the  Cholona  of  South  America,  pa  is 
"  father,"  pa-n,  "  mother " ;  in  the  PEntlatc  of  British  Colum- 
bia, "father"  is  mda,  "mother,"  taa,  while  in  the  Songish  man 
is  "father"  and  tan  "mother"  (404.  143). 

Certain  tongues  have  different  words  for  "mother,"  according 
as  it  is  a  male  or  a  female  who  speaks.  Thus  in  the  Okanak-6n, 
a  Salish  dialect  of  British  Columbia,  a  man  or  a  boy  says  for 
"mother,"  sk'oi,  a  woman  or  a  girl,  tom;  in  Kalispelm  the  corre- 
sponding terms  for  "my  mother"  are  is¥di  and  intoop.  This 
distinction,  however,  seems  not  to  be  so  common  as  in  the  case 
of  "  father." 

In  a  number  of  languages  the  words  for  "  mother "  are  different 
when  the  latter  is  addressed  and  when  she  is  spoken  of  or  referred 
to.  Thus  in  the  Kwakiutl,  Nootka,  and  ^^tloltq,  three  British 
Columbia  tongues,  the  two  words  for  "  mother  "  are  respectively 
M,  abouJc;  at,  abEmj);  niks,  tan.  It  is  to  be  noted,  apparently, 
that  the  word  used  in  address  is  very  often  simpler,  more  primi- 
tive, than  the  other.  Even  in  English  we  find  something  similar 
in  the  use  of  ma  (or  mama)  and  mother. 

In  the  Gothic  alone,  of  all  the  great  Teutonic  dialects,  —  the 
language  into  which  Bishop  Wulfila  translated  the  Scriptures  in 

10  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

the  fourth  century, — the  cognate  equivalent  of  our  English  mother 
does  not  appear.  The  Gothic  term  is  aithei,  evidently  related  to 
atta,  "  father,"  and  belonging  to  the  great  series  of  nursery  words, 
of  which  our  own  ma,  tnama,  are  typical  examples.  These  are 
either  relics  of  the  first  articulations  of  the  child  and  the  race, 
transmitted  by  hereditary  adaptation  from  generation  to  genera- 
tion, or  are  the  coinages  of  mother  and  nurse  in  imitation  of  the 
cries  of  infancy. 

These  simple  words  are  legion  in  number  and  are  found  over 
the  whole  inhabited  earth,  —  in  the  wigwam  of  the  Eedskin,  in 
the  tent  of  the  nomad  Bedouin,  in  the  homes  of  cultured  Euro- 
peans and  Americans.  Dr.  Buschmann  studied  these  "nature- 
sounds,"  as  he  called  them,  and  found  that  they  are  chiefly 
variations  and  combinations  of  the  syllables  ah,  op,  am,  an,  ad, 
at,  ha,  pa,  ma,  na,  da,  ta,  etc.,  and  that  in  one  language,  not  abso- 
lutely unrelated  to  another,  the  same  sound  will  be  used  to 
denote  the  "  mother  "  that  in  the  second  signifies  "  father,"  thus 
evidencing  the  applicability  of  these  words,  in  the  earliest  stages 
of  their  existence,  to  either,  or  to  both,  of  the  parents  of  the 
child  (166,  85),  Pott,  while  remarking  a  wonderful  resemblance 
in  the  names  for  parents  all  over  the  world,  seeks  to  establish 
the  rather  doubtful  thesis  that  there  is  a  decided  difference  in  the 
nature  of  the  words  for  "  father "  and  those  for  "  mother,"  the 
former  being  "man-like,  stronger,"  the  latter  "woman-like,  mild" 
(517.  57). 

Some  languages  apparently  do  not  possess  a  single  specialized 
word  for  "  mother."  The  Hawaiian,  for  example,  calls  "  mother 
and  the  sisters  of  the  mother  "  makua  wahine,  "  female  parent," 
that  being  the  nearest  equivalent  of  our  "  mother,"  while  in  Tonga, 
as  indeed  with  us  to-day,  sometimes  the  same  term  is  applied  to 
a  real  mother  and  to  an  adopted  one  (100.  389).  In  Japan,  the 
paternal  aunt  and  the  maternal  aunt  are  called  "little  mother." 
Similar  terms  and  appellations  are  found  in  other  primitive 
tongues.  A  somewhat  extended  discussion  of  names  for  "mother," 
and  the  questions  connected  with  the  subject,  will  be  found  in 
Westermarck  (166.  85).  Here  also  will  be  found  notices  of  the 
names  among  various  peoples  for  the  nearest  relatives  of  the 
mother  and  father.  Incidentally  it  is  worth  noting  that  Wester- 
marck controverts  Professor  Vambery's  opinion  that  the  Turko- 

Lore  of  Motherhood.  11 

Tartar  words  for  "  mother,"  ana,  ene,  originally  meant  "  nurse  " 
or  "woman"  (from  the  root  an,  en),  holding  that  exactly  the 
reverse  is  the  fact,  "the  terms  for  mother  being  the  primitive 
words."  He  is  also  inclined  to  think  that  the  Aryan  roots  pa, 
"to  protect,  to  nourish,"  and  ma,  "to  fashion,"  came  from  pa, 
"  father,"  and  ma,  "  mother,"  and  not  vice  versd.  Mr.  Bridges, 
the  missionary  who  has  studied  so  well  the  Yahgans  of  Tierra 
del  Fuego,  states  that  "the  names  hnu  and  dabi — father  and 
mother  —  have  no  meaning  apart  from  their  application,  neither 
have  any  of  their  other  very  definite  and  ample  list  of  terms  for 
relatives,  except  the  terms  macu  [cf.  mar/u,  "parturition"]  and 
macipa  [cf.  cipa,  "  female  "],  son  and  daughter."  This  statement 
is,  however,  too  sweeping  perhaps  (166.  88). 

According  to  Colonel  Mallery,  the  Ute  Indians  indicate 
"mother"  by  placing  the  index  finger  in  the  mouth  (497  a.  479). 
Clark  describes  the  common  Indian  sign  as  follows :  "  Bring  par- 
tially curved  and  compressed  right  hand,  and  strike  with  two  or 
three  gentle  taps  right  or  left  breast,  and  make  sign  for  female; 
though  in  conversation  the  latter  is  seldom  necessary.  Deaf 
mutes  make  sign  for  female,  and  cross  hands  as  in  their  sign  for 
hahy,  and  move  them  to  front  and  upwards"  (420.  262).  Some- 
what similar  is  the  sign  for  "  father " :  "  Bring  the  compressed 
right  hand,  back  nearly  outwards,  in  front  of  right  or  left  breast, 
tips  of  fingers  few  inches  from  it;  move  the  hand,  mostly  by 
wrist  action,  and  gently  tap  the  breast  with  tips  of  fingers  two  or 
three  times,  then  make  sign  for  male.  Some  Indians  tap  right 
breast  for  '  father,'  and  left  for  *  mother.'  Deaf-mutes  make  sign 
for  male,  and  then  holding  hands  fixed  as  in  their  sign  for  baby, 
but  a  little  higher,  move  the  hands  to  front  and  upwards  "  (420. 

Interesting  is  the  following  statement  of  Mr.  Codrington,  the 
well-known  missionary  to  the  Melanesians :  — 

"  In  Mota  the  word  used  for  *  mother '  is  the  same  that  is  used 
for  the  division  [tribe?]  veve,  with  a  plural  sign  ra  veve.  And 
it  is  not  that  a  man's  kindred  are  so  called  after  his  mother,  but 
that  his  mother  is  called  his  kindred,  as  if  she  were  the  represen- 
tative of  the  division  to  which  he  belongs ;  as  if  he  were  not  the 
child  of  a  particular  woman,  but  of  the  whole  kindred  for  whom 
she  brought  him  into  the  world."     Moreover,  at  Mota,  in  like 

12  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

fashion,  "  the  word  for  *  consort,' '  husband,'  or  '  wife,'  is  in  a  plural 
form  ra  soai,  the  word  used  for  members  of  a  body,  or  the  compo- 
nent parts  of  a  canoo  "  (25.  307-8). 


Since  the  appearance  of  Bachofen's  famous  book  on  the  matri- 
archate,  "mother-right,"  that  system  of  society  in  which  the 
mother  is  paramount  in  the  family  and  the  line  of  inheritance 
passes  through  her,  has  received  much  attention  from  students  of 
sociology  and  primitive  history. 

Post  thus  defines  the  sj^stem  of  mother-right :  — 

"The  matriarchate  is  a  system  of  relationship  according  to 
which  the  child  is  related  only  to  his  mother  and  to  the  persons 
connected  with  him  through  the  female  line,  while  he  is  looked 
■upon  as  not  related  to  his  father  and  the  persons  connected  with 
him  through  the  male  line.  According  to  this  system,  therefore, 
the  narrowest  family  circle  consists  not,  as  with  us  to-day,  of 
father,  mother,  and  child,  but  of  mother,  mother's  brother,  and 
sister's  child,  whilst  the  father  is  completely  wanting,  and  the 
mother's  brother  takes  the  father's  place  with  the  sister's  children. 
The  real  father  is  not  the  father  of  his  own  children,  but  of  his 
nephews  and  nieces,  whilst  the  brother  of  his  wife  is  looked  upon 
as  father  to  his  children.  The  brothers  and  sisters  of  the  mother 
form  with  her  a  social  group,  to  which  belong  also  the  children  of 
the  sisters,  the  children  of  the  daughters  of  the  sisters,  etc.,  but 
not  the  children  of  the  brothers,  the  children  of  the  sisters' 
sons,  etc.  With  every  husband  the  relationship  ceases  "  (127.  I. 

The  system  of  mother-right  prevails  widely  over  the  whole 
globe;  in  some  places,  however,  only  in  fragmentary  condition. 
It  is  found  amongst  nearly  all  the  native  tribes  of  America ;  the 
peoples  of  Malaysia,  Melanesia,  Australia,  Micronesia,  and  Poly- 
nesia, the  Dravidian  tribes  of  India ;  in  Africa  it  is  found  in  the 
eastern  Sahara,  the  Soudan,  the  east  and  west  coast,  and  in  the 
centre  of  the  continent,  but  not  to  the  exclusion,  altogether,  of 
father-right,  while  in  the  north  the  intrusion  of  Europeans  and 
the  followers  of  Islam  has  tended  to  suppress  it.  Traces  of  its 
former  existence  are  discovered  among  certain  of  the  ancient 

Lore  of  Motherhood.  18 

tribes  of  Asia  Minor,  the  old  Egyptians,  Arabs,  Greeks,  Komans, 
Teutons,  the  Aryans  of  India,  the  Chinese,  Japanese,  etc. 

Mother-right  has  been  recognized  by  many  sociologists  as  a 
system  of  family  relationship,  perhaps  the  most  widespread,  per- 
haps the  most  primitive  of  all.     Dr.  Brinton  says :  — 

"  The  foundation  of  the  gentile  system,  as  of  any  other  family 
life,  is  .  .  .  the  mutual  affection  between  kindred.  In  the  primi- 
tive period  this  is  especially  between  children  of  the  same  mother, 
not  so  much  because  of  the  doubt  of  paternity,  as  because  physio- 
logically and  obviously,  it  is  the  mother  in  whom  is  formed,  and 
from  whom  alone  proceeds,  the  living  being  "  (412.  47). 

Professor  O.  T.  Mason,  in  the  course  of  his  interesting  address 
on  "  Woman's  Share  in  Primitive  Culture,"  remarks  (112.  10)  :  — 

"Such  sociologists  as  Morgan  and  McLennan  afiirm  that  the  prim- 
itive society  had  no  family  organization  at  all.  They  hypothecate 
a  condition  in  which  utter  promiscuity  prevailed.  I  see  no  neces- 
sity for  this.  There  is  some  organization  among  insects.  Birds 
mate  and  rear  a  little  family.  Many  animals  set  up  a  kind  of 
patriarchal  horde.  On  the  other  hand,  they  err  greatly  who  look 
among  savages  for  such  permanent  home  life  as  we  enjoy.  Mar- 
riages are  in  groups,  children  are  the  sons  and  daughters  of  these 
groups ;  divorces  are  common.  The  fathers  of  the  children  are 
not  known,  and  if  they  were,  they  would  have  no  authority  on 
that  account.  The  mother  never  changes  her  name,  the  children 
are  named  after  her,  or,  at  least,  are  not  named  after  the  father. 
The  system  of  gentes  prevails,  each  gens  consisting  of  a  hypothet- 
ical female  ancestress,  and  all  her  descendants  through  females. 
These  primitive  men  and  women,  having  no  other  resort,  hit  upon 
this  device  to  hold  a  band  of  kin  together.  Here  was  the  first 
social  tie  on  earth ;  the  beginning  of  the  state.  The  first  empire 
was  a  woman  and  her  children,  regardless  of  paternity.  This 
was  the  beginning  of  all  the  social  bonds  which  unite  us.  Among 
our  own  Indians  mother-right  was  nearly  universal.  Upon  the 
death  of  a  chief  whose  office  was  hereditary,  he  was  succeeded, 
not  by  his  son,  but  by  the  son  of  a  sister,  or  an  aunt,  or  a  niece ; 
all  his  property  that  was  not  buried  with  him  fell  to  the  same  par- 
ties, could  not  descend  to  his  children,  since  a  child  and  the  father 
belonged  to  different  gentes."  McLennan  has  discussed  at  some 
length  the  subject  of  kinship  in  ancient  Greece  (115.  193-246), 

14  The  Child  in  Folk- Thought. 

and  maintains  that  "the  system  of  double  kinship,  which  pre- 
vailed in  the  time  of  Homer,  was  preceded  by  a  system  of  kinship 
through  females  only,"  referring  to  the  cases  of  Lycaon,  Tlepole- 
mus,  Helen,  Arnaeus,  Glaucus,  and  Sarpedon,  besides  the  evi- 
dence in  the  Orestes  of  Euripides,  and  the  Eumenides  of  ^schylus. 
In  the  last,  "  the  jury  are  equally  divided  on  the  plea  [that  Orestes 
was  not  of  kin  to  his  mother,  Clytemnestra,  whom  he  had  killed, 
—  "  Do  you  call  me  related  by  blood  to  my  mother  ?  "],  and  Orestes 
gains  his  cause  by  the  casting  vote  of  Athene."  According 
to  tradition,  "in  Greece,  before  the  time  of  Cecrops,  children 
always  bore  the  name  of  their  mothers,"  in  marked  contrast  to 
tha  state  of  affairs  in  Sparta,  where,  according  to  Philo,  "the 
marriage  tie  was  so  loose  that  men  lent  their  wives  to  one  another, 
and  cared  little  by  whom  children  were  begotten,  provided  they 
turned  out  strong  and  healthy." 

We  have  preserved  for  us,  by  Plutarch  and  others,  some  of  the 
opinions  of  Greek  philosophers  on  the  relation  of  the  father  and 
the  mother  to  the  child.  Plato  is  represented  as  calling  "  mind 
the  conception,  idea,  model,  and  father  ;  and  matter  the  mother, 
nurse,  or  seat  and  region  capable  of  births."  Chrysippus  is  said 
to  have  stated:  "The  foetus  is  nourished  in  the  womb  like  a 
plant ;  but,  being  born,  is  refrigerated  and  hardened  by  the  air, 
and  its  spirit  being  changed  it  becomes  an  animal,"  a  view 
which,  as  McLennan  points  out,  "  constitutes  the  mother  the  mere 
nurse  of  her  child,  just  as  a  field  is  of  the  seed  sown  in  it." 
•  The  view  of  Apollo,  which,  in  the  council  of  the  gods,  influ- 
enced Athene  to  decide  for  Orestes,  is  this :  — 

"  The  bearer  of  the  so-called  offspring  is  not  the  mother  of  it,  but 
only  the  nurse  of  the  newly  conceived  foetus.  It  is  the  male  who 
is  the  author  of  its  being ;  while  she,  as  a  stranger,  for  a  stranger, 
preserves  the  young  plant  for  those  for  whom  the  god  has  not 
blighted  it  in  the  bud.  And  I  will  show  you  a  proof  of  this 
assertion;  one  may  become  a  father  without  a  mother.  There 
stands  by  a  witness  of  this  in  the  daughter  of  Olympian  Zeus, 
who  was  not  even  nursed  [much  less  engendered  or  begotten]  in 
the  darkness  of  the  womb"  (115.  211).  This  is  akin  to  the  wild 
discussion  in  the  misogynistic  Middle  Ages  about  the  possibility 
of  lucina  sine  concubitu.  The  most  recent  and  most  scholarly  dis- 
cussion of  all  questions  involved  in  "  mother-right "  will  be  found 

Lore  of  Motherhood.  16 

in  the  History  of  Human  Marriage  by  Edward  Westennarck,  a 
book  in  which  the  antiquity  of  monogamy  and  the  improbability 
of  anything  like  promiscuity  having  ever  generally  obtained  are 
clearly  shown  (166).  l^lr.  Codrington,  in  his  account  of  Social 
Regulations  in  Melanesia,  sketches  for  us  the  position  of  the 
parent  where  the  mother-descent  prevails :  — 

"To  a  Melanesian  man  it  may  almost  be  said  that  all  women, 
of  his  own  generation  at  least,  are  either  sisters  or  wives ;  to  the 
Melanesian  woman,  that  all  men  are  brothers  or  husbands.  An 
excellent  illustration  of  this  is  given  in  a  story  from  Aurora,  in 
the  New  Hebrides,  in  which  Oatu  discovers  twin  boys,  children 
of  his  dead  sister,  and  brings  them  to  his  wife.  '  Are  these,'  she 
asks,  '  my  children  or  my  husbands  ? '  Oatu  answers  :  '  Your 
husbands,  to  be  sure ;  they  are  my  sister's  children' "  (25.  306-7). 

Mother- Queen. 

Professor  Mason  has  said  "  the  first  empire  was  a  woman  and 
her  children,"  and  with  not  a  few  primitive  tribes  women  were 
chiefs  and  took  large  part  in  the  affairs  of  the  nation.  Even 
among  the  warlike  Iroquois,  the  back  that  bore  the  cradle  sus- 
tained the  burden  of  the  state.     The  Jesuit  Lafiteau  declared :  — 

"There  is  nothing  more  real  than  this  superiority  of  the 
women.  It  is  they  who  constitute  the  tribe,  transmit  the  nobility 
of  blood,  keep  up  the  genealogical  tree  and  the  order  of  inheri- 
tance, and  perpetuate  the  family.  They  possess  all  actual  author- 
ity ;  own  the  land  and  the  fields  and  their  harvests ;  they  are  the 
soul  of  all  councils,  the  arbiters  of  peace  and  war ;  they  have  the 
care  of  the  public  treasury;  slaves  are  given  to  them;  they 
arrange  marriages ;  the  children  belong  to  them,  and  to  their 
blood  are  confined  the  lines  of  descent  and  the  order  of  inheri- 
tance. The  men,  on  the  other  hand,  are  wholly  isolated  and  re- 
stricted to  their  personal  affairs ;  their  children  are  strangers  to 
them,  and  when  they  die,  everything  comes  to  an  end,  and  it  is 
only  the  women  who  can  keep  up  and  perpetuate  the  family  " 
(112.  10). 

It  was  this  people  who  produced  men  of  whom  it  could  be 
said:  "Physically  the  stock  is  most  superior,  unsurpassed  by 
any  other  on  the  continent,  and  I  may  even-  say  by  any  other 

16  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

people  in  the  world ;  for  it  stands  on  record  that  the  five  com- 
panies (five  hundred  men)  recruited  from  the  Iroquois  of  New 
York  and  Canada  during  our  civil  war  stood  first  on  the  list 
among  all  the  recruits  of  our  army  for  height,  vigour,  and  corpo- 
real symmetry  "  (412.  82).  And  it  was  this  people  too  who  pro- 
duced Hiawatha,  a  philosophic  legislator  and  reformer,  worthy 
to  rank  with  Solon  and  Lycurgus,  and  the  founder  of  a  great 
league  whose  object  was  to  put  an  end  to  war,  and  unite  all  the 
nations  in  one  bond  of  brotherhood  and  peace. 

Among  the  Choctaw-Muskogee  tribes,  women-chiefs  were  also 
known ;  the  Yuchis,  Chetimachas,  had  "  Queens  " ;  occasionally 
we  find  female  rulers  elsewhere  in  America,  as  among  the  Win- 
nebagos,  the  Nah«ane,  etc.  Scattered  examples  of  gynocracy  are 
to  be  found  in  other  parts  of  the  world,  and  in  their  later  devel- 
opment some  of  the  Aryan  races  have  been  rather  partial  to 
women  as  monarchs,  and  striking  instances  of  a  like  predilection 
are  to  be  met  with  among  the  Semitic  tribes,  —  Boadicea,  Dido, 
Semiramis,  Deborah  are  well-known  cases  in  point,  to  say  noth- 
ing of  the  Christian  era  and  its  more  enlightened  treatment  of 

The  fate  of  women  among  those  peoples  and  in  those  ages 
where  extreme  exaltation  of  the  male  has  been  the  rule,  is 
sketched  by  Letourneau  in  his  chapter  on  The  Condition  of 
Women  (100.  173-185) ;  the  contrast  between  the  Australians,  to 
whom  "woman  is  a  domestic  animal,  useful  for  the  purposes  of 
genesic  pleasure,  for  reproduction,  and,  in  case  of  famine,  for 
food,"  the  Chinese,  who  can  say  "  a  newly-married  woman  ought 
to  be  merely  as  a  shadow  and  as  an  echo  in  the  house,"  the  primi- 
tive Hindus,  who  forbade  the  wife  to  call  her  husband  by  name, 
but  made  her  term  him  "  master,  lord,"  or  even  "  god,"  and  even 
some  of  our  modern  races  in  the  eye  of  whose  law  women  are 
still  minors,  and  the  Iroquois,  is  remarkable.  Such  great  differ- 
ences in  the  position  and  rights  of  women,  existing  through  cen- 
turies, over  wide  areas  of  the  globe,  have  made  the  study  of  com- 
parative pedagogy  a  most  important  branch  of  human  sociology. 
The  mother  as  teacher  has  not  been,  and  is  not  now,  the  same  the 
world  over. 

As  men  holding  supreme  power  have  been  termed  ^'father," 
women  have  in  like  manner  been  called  "  mother."     The  title  of 

Lore  of  Motherhood.  17 

the  queen-motlier  in  Ashanti  is  nana,  "  Grandmother  "  (438.  259), 
and  to  some  of  the  Indian  tribes  of  Canada  Queen  Victoria  is  the 
"Great  WTiite  Mother,"  the  "Great  Mother  across  the  Sea." 
In  Ashanti  the  "rich,  prosperous,  and  powerful"  are  termed 
Oman  enna,  "mothers  of  the  tribe,"  and  are  expected  to  make 
suitably  large  offerings  to  the  dead,  else  there  will  be  no  child 
born  in  the  neglectful  family  for  a  certain  period  (438.  228). 

With  the  Romans,  mater  and  its  derivative  matrona,  came  to  be 
applied  as  titles  of  honour ;  and  beside  the  rites  of  the  parentalia 
we  find  those  of  the  matronalia  (492.  454). 

In  the  ancient  Hebrew  chronicles  we  find  mention  of  Deborah, 
that  "  mother  in  Israel." 

With  us,  off  whose  tongues  "the  fathers,"  "forefathers," 
"  ancestors "  (hardly  including  ancestresses)  and  the  like  rolled 
so  glibly,  the  "  Pilgrim  Fathers  "  were  glorified  long  before  the 
"  Pilgrim  Mothers,"  and  hardly  yet  has  the  mother  of  the  "  father 
of  his  country  "  received  the  just  remembrance  and  recognition 
belonging  to  her  who  bore  so  noble  and  so  illustrious  a  son.  By 
and  by,  however,  it  is  to  be  hoped,  we  shall  be  free  from  the 
reproach  cast  upon  us  by  Colonel  Higginson,  and  wake  up  to  the 
full  consciousness  that  the  great  men  of  our  land  have  had 
mothers,  and  proceed  to  re-write  our  biographical  dictionaries 
and  encyclopaedias  of  life-history. 

In  Latin  mater,  as  does  mother  with  us,  possessed  a  wide 
extent  of  meaning,  "mother,  parent,  producer,  nurse,  preparer, 
cause,  origin,  source,"  etc.  Mater  ovmium  artium  necessitas, 
"  Necessity  is  the  mother  of  invention,"  and  similar  phrases  were 
in  common  use,  as  they  are  also  in  the  languages  of  to-day.  Con- 
nected with  mater  is  materia,  "matter,"  —  mother-siviS.,  perhaps, 
—  and  from  it  is  derived  matrimonium,  which  testifies  concerning 
primitive  Roman  sociology,  in  which  the  mother-idea  must  have 
been  prominent,  something  we  cannot  say  of  our  word  maTriage, 
derived  ultimately  from  the  Latin  77105,  "  a  male." 

Westermarck  notes  the  Nicaraguans,  Dyaks,  IVIinahassers, 
Andaman  Islanders,  Padam,  Munda  Kols,  Santals,  Moors  of  the 
Western  Soudan,  Tuaregs,  Teda,  among  the  more  or  less  primitive 
peoples  with  whom  woman  is  held  in  considerable  respect,  and 
sometimes,  as  among  the  Munda  Kols,  bears  the  proud  title 
"mistress  of  the  house"  (166.  500,  501).  As  Havelock  Ellis 

18  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

remarks,  women  have  shown  themselves  the  equals  of  men  as 
rulers,  and  most  beneficial  results  have  flowed  from  their  exercise 
of  the  great  political  wisdom  and  adaptation  to  statecraft  which 
seems  to  belong  especially  to  the  female  sex.  The  household  has 
been  a  training-school  for  women  in  the  more  extended  spheres 
of  human  administrative  society. 

Alma  Mater. 

The  college  graduate  fondly  calls  the  institution  from  which 
he  has  obtained  his  degree  Alma  Mater,  "  nourishing,  fostering, 
cherishing  mother,"  and  he  is  her  alumnus  (foster-child,  nour- 
ished one).  For  long  years  the  family  of  the  benign  and  gracious 
mother,  whose  wisdom  was  lavished  upon  her  children,  consisted 
of  sons  alone,  but  now,  with  the  advent  of  *'  sweeter  manners, 
purer  laws,"  daughters  have  come  to  her  also,  and  the  alumnce, 
"the  sweet  girl-graduates  in  their  golden  hair,"  share  in  the  best 
gifts  their  parent  can  bestow.  To  Earth  also,  the  term  Alma  Mater 
has  been  applied,  and  the  great  nourishing  mother  of  all  was 
indeed  the  first  teacher  of  man,  the  first  university  of  the  race. 

Alma,  alumnus,  alumna,  are  all  derived  from  alo,  "1  nourish, 
support."  From  the  radical  al,  following  various  trains  of 
thought,  have  come :  alesco,  "  I  grow  up " ;  coalesco,  "  I  grow 
together  "  ;  adolesco,  "  I  grow  up,"  —  whence  adolescent,  etc. ; 
obsolesco,  ''  I  wear  out " ;  alimentum,  "  food  " ;  alimonium,  "  sup- 
port " ;  altor,  altrix,  "  nourisher  " ;  altus,  "  high,  deep  "  (literally, 
"grown");  elementum,  "first  principle,"  etc.  Connected  with 
adolesco  is  adultus,  whence  our  adult,  with  the  radical  of  which 
the  English  word  old  (eld)  is  cognate.  From  the  root  al,  "to 
grow,  to  make  to  grow,  to  nourish,"  spring  also  the  Latin  words 
proles,  "offspring,"  suboles,  "offspring,  sprout,"  indoles,  "inborn  or 
native  quality." 

"Mother's  Son." 

The  familiar  expression  "every  mother's  son  of  us"  finds 
kin  in  the  Modern  High  German  Muttersohn,  Mutterkind,  which, 
with  the  even  more  significant  Muttermensch  (human  being), 
takes  us  back  to  the  days  of  "  mother-right."  Rather  different, 
however,  is  the  idea  called  up  by  the  corresponding  Middle  Low 
German  modersone,  which  means  "  bastard,  illegitimate  child." 

hore  of  Motherhood.  19 

A  synonym  of  Muttermensch  is  Mutterseele,  for  sonl  and  man 
once  meant  pretty  much  the  same.  The  curious  expression 
mutterseelenallein,  "quite  alone;  alone  by  one's  self,"  is  given  a 
peculiar  interpretation  by  Lippert,  who  sees  in  it  a  relic  of  the 
burial  of  the  dead  (soul)  beneath  the  hearth,  threshold,  or  floor  of 
the  house;  "wessen  Mutter  im  Hause  ruht,  der  kann  daheim 
immer  nur  mit  seiner  Mutterseele  selbander  allein  sein."  Or, 
perhaps,  it  goes  back  to  the  time  when,  as  with  the  Seminoles  of 
Florida,  the  babe  was  held  over  the  mouth  of  the  mother,  whose 
death  resulted  from  its  birth,  in  order  that  her  departing  spirit 
might  enter  the  new  being. 

In  German,  the  "mother-feeling''  makes  its  influence  felt  in 
the  nomenclature   of  the   lower  brute   creation.     As  contrasted 
with  our  English  female  donkey  (she-donkey),  mare,  ewe,  ewe- 
lamb,    sow,    doe-hare    (female    hare),   queen-bee,   etc.,   we    find 
Mutteresel,    "'  mother-donkey  "  ;    Mutterpfercl,    "  mother-horse  '' 
Mutterschaf,    "  mother-sheep  "  ;    Mutterlamm,   "  mother   lamb  " 
Mutterschicein,   "'  mother   swine  "  ;   Mutterhase,   "  mother-hare  " 
Mxitterhiene,  "mother-bee." 

Nor  is  this  feeling  absent  from  the  names  of  plants  and  things 
inanimate.  We  have  MutterbirJce,  "birch";  Mutterhlume,  "seed- 
flower  "' ;  Muttemelke,  "  carnation  " ;  Muttemdgelein  (our  "  mother- 
clove  ") ;  Mutterhclz.  In  English  we  have  "  mother  of  thyme," 
etc.  In  Japan  a  triple  arrangement  in  the  display  of  the 
flower-vase  —  a  floral  trinity  —  is  termed  chichi,  "father";  haha^ 
"mother";  ten,  "heaven"  (189.  74). 

In  the  nursery-lore  of  all  peoples,  as  we  can  see  from  the  fairy- 
tales and  child-stories  in  our  own  and  other  languages,  this  attri- 
bution of  motherhood  to  all  things  animate  and  inanimate  is 
common,  as  it  is  in  the  folk-lore  and  mythology  of  the  adult 
members  of  primitive  races  now  existing. 

Mother  Poet. 

The  arts  of  poetry,  music,  dancing,  according  to  classic  mythol- 
ogy, were  presided  over  by  nine  goddesses,  or  Muses,  daughters 
of  Mnemosyne,  goddess  of  memory,  "  Mnse-mother,"  as  Mrs, 
Browning  terms  her.  The  history  of  woman  as  a  poet  has  yet 
to  be  written,  but  to  her  in  the  early  ages  poetry  owed  much  of 

20  The  Child  in  Folk- Thought. 

its  development  and  its  beauty.  Mr.  Vance  has  remarked  that 
"  among  many  of  the  lowest  races  the  only  love-dances  in  vogue 
are  those  performed  by  the  women  "  (545  a.  4069).  And  Letour- 
neau  considers  that  "  there  are  good  grounds  for  supposing  that 
women  may  have  especially  participated  in  the  creation  of  the 
lyric  of  the  erotic  kind."  Professor  Mason,  in  the  course  of  his 
remarks  upon  woman's  labour  in  the  world  in  all  ages,  says 
(112.  12) :  — 

"The  idea  of  a  maker,  or  creator-of-all-things  found  no  con- 
genial soil  in  the  minds  of  savage  men,  who  manufactured 
nothing.  But,  as  the  first  potters,  weavers,  house-builders  were 
women,  the  idea  of  a  divine  creator  as  a  moulder,  designer,  and 
architect  originated  with  her,  or  was  suggested  by  her.  The  three 
Fates,  Clotho,  who  spins  the  thread  of  life ;  Lachesis,  who  fixes 
its  prolongation ;  and  Atropos,  who  cuts  this  thread  with  remorse- 
less shears,  are  necessarily  derived  from  woman's  work.  The 
mother-goddess  of  all  peoples,  culminating  in  the  apotheosis  of 
the  Virgin  Mary,  is  an  idea,  either  originated  by  women,  or  de- 
vised to  satisfy  their  spiritual  cravings." 

And  we  have,  besides  the  goddesses  of  all  mythologies,  per- 
sonifying woman's  devotion,  beauty,  love.  What  shall  we  say 
of  that  art,  highest  of  all  human  accomplishments,  in  the  exer- 
cise of  which  men  have  become  almost  as  gods  ?  The  old  Greeks 
called  the  singer  ttoit^tt;?,  "  maker,"  and  perhaps  from  woman  the 
first  poets  learned  how  to  worship  in  noble  fashion  that  great 
maker  of  all,  whose  poem  is  the  universe.  Religion  and  poetry 
have  ever  gone  hand  in  hand ;  Plato  was  right  when  he  said :  "  I 
am  persuaded,  somehow,  that  good  poets  are  the  inspired  inter- 
preters of  the  gods."  Of  song,  as  of  religion,  it  may  perhaps  be 
said :  Dux  foemina  facti. 

To  the  mother  beside  the  cradle  where  lies  her  tender  offspring, 
song  is  as  natural  as  speech  itself  to  man.  Lullabies  are  found 
in  every  land ;  everywhere  the  joyous  mother-heart  bursts  forth 
into  song.  The  German  proverb  is  significant:  "Wer  ein  sau- 
gendes  Kind  hat,  der  hat  eine  singende  Frau,"  and  Fischer,  a 
quaint  poet  of  the  sixteenth  century,  has  beautifully  expressed 
a  like  idea :  — 

"  Wo  Honig  ist,  da  sammlen  sich  die  Fliegen, 
Wo  Kinder  sind,  da  singt  man  um  die  Wiegen." 

Lore  of  Motherhood.  21 

Ploss,  in  whose  book  is  to  be  fonnd  a  choice  collection  of  lullar 
bies  from  all  over  the  globe,  remarks :  "  The  folk-poetry  of  all 
peoples  is  rich  in  songs  whose  texts  and  melodies  the  tender 
mother  herself  imagined  and  composed  "  (326.  II.  128). 

The  Countess  Martinengo-Cesaresco  devotes  an  interesting 
chapter  of  her  Essays  in  the  Study  of  Folk-Song  to  the  sub- 
ject of  lullabies.  But  not  cradle-songs  alone  have  sprung  from 
woman's  genius.  The  world  over,  dirges  and  funeral-laments 
have  received  their  poetical  form  from  the  mother.  As  name- 
giver,  too,  in  many  lands,  the  mother  exercised  this  side  of  her 
imaginative  faculty.  The  mother  and  the  child,  from  whom 
language  received  its  chief  inspiration,  were  also  the  callers 
forth  of  its  choicest  and  most  creative  form. 

Mother -WU. 

"  An  ounce  o'  mother-wit  is  worth  a  pound  o'  clergy,"  says  the 
Scotch  proverb,  and  the  "  mother-wit,"  Muttergeist  and  Muttencitz, 
that  instructive  common-sense,  that  saving  light  that  make  the 
genius  and  even  the  fool,  in  the  midst  of  his  folly,  wise,  appear 
in  folk-lore  and  folk-speech  everywhere.  What  the  statistics  of 
genius  seem  to  show  that  great  men  owe  to  their  mothers,  no  less 
than  fools,  is  summed  up  by  the  folk-mind  in  the  word  mother-mt. 
Jean  Paul  says :  "  Die  Mutter  geben  uns  von  Geiste  "Warme  und 
die  Yater  Licht,"  and  Goethe,  in  a  familiar  passage  in  his  Auto- 
biography, declares :  — 

"  Vom  Vater  hab'  ich  die  Statur, 
Des  Lebens  emstes  Fiihren  ; 
Vom  Mtitterchen  die  Frohnatur, 
Und  Lust  zu  fabulieren." 

Shakespeare  makes  Petruchio  tell  the  shrewish  Katherine  that 
his  "goodly  speech"  is  "extempore  from  my  mother-wit,"  and 
Emerson  calls  "  mother- wit,"  the  "  cure  for  false  theology."  Quite 
appropriately  Spenser,  in  the  Faerie  Queene,  speaks  of  "  all  that 
Nature  by  her  mother-wit  could  frame  in  earth."  It  is  worth 
noting  that  when  the  ancient  Greeks  came  to  name  the  soul,  they 
personified  it  in  Psyche,  a  beautiful  female,  and  that  the  word 
for  "  soul "  is  feminine  in  many  European  languages. 

22  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

Among  tlie  Teton  Indians,  according  to  the  Eev.  J.  Owen  Dor- 
sey,  the  following  peculiar  custom  exists :  "  Prior  to  the  naming 
of  the  infant  is  the  ceremony  of  the  transfer  of  character ;  should 
the  infant  be  a  boy,  a  brave  and  good-tempered  man,  chosen 
beforehand,  takes  the  infant  in  his  arms  and  breathes  into  his 
mouth,  thereby  communicating  his  own  disposition  to  the  infant, 
who  will  grow  up  to  be  a  brave  and  good-natured  man.  It  is 
thought  that  such  an  infant  will  not  cry  as  much  as  infants  that 
have  not  been  thus  favoured.  Should  the  infant  be  a  girl,  it  is  put 
into  the  arms  of  a  good  woman,  who  breathes  into  its  mouth " 
(433.  482). 

Here  we  have /ai/ier- wit  as  well  as  mother-^it. 

Mother-  Tongue. 

Where  women  have  no  voice  whatever  in  public  affairs,  and 
are  subordinated  to  the  uttermost  in  social  and  family  matters, 
little  that  is  honourable  and  noble  is  named  for  them.  In  East 
Central  Africa,  a  Yao  woman,  asked  if  the  child  she  is  carrying 
is  a  boy  or  a  girl,  frequently  replies :  "  My  child  is  of  the  sex 
that  does  not  speak  "  (518.  XLIII.  249),  and  with  other  peoples  in 
higher  stages  of  culture,  the  "  silent  woman  "  lingers  yet.  Taceat 
mulier  in  ecdesid  still  rings  in  our  ears  to-day,  as  it  has  rung  for 
untold  centuries.     Though  the  poet  has  said :  — 

"There  is  a  sight  all  hearts  beguiling  — 
A  youthful  mother  to  her  infant  smiling, 
"Who,  with  spread  arms  and  dancing  feet, 
And  cooing  voice,  returns  its  answer  sweet," 

and  mothers  alone  have  understood  the  first  babblings  of  humanity, 
they  have  waited  long  to  be  remembered  in  the  worthiest  name 
of  the  language  they  have  taught  their  offspring. 

The  term  mother-tongue,  although  Middle  English  had  "  birthe- 
tonge,"  in  the  sense  of  native  speech,  is  not  old  in  our  language .} 
the  Century  Dictionary  gives  no  examples  of  its  early  use.  Even 
immortal  Shakespeare  does  not  know  it,  for,  in  King  Richard  II., 
he  makes  Mowbray  say :  — 

"The  language  I  have  learned  these  forty  years 
(My  native  English)  now  must  I  forego." 

I^tre  of  Motherhood.  23 

The  German  version  of  the  passage  has,  however,  mein  miitter- 
liches  Englisch. 

Cowper,  in  the  Task,  does  use  "  mother-tongue,"  in  the  connec- 
tion following :  — 

"Praise  enough 
To  fill  the  amhition  of  a  private  man. 
That  Chatham's  language  was  his  mother-tongue." 

Mother-tongue  has  now  become  part  and  parcel  of  our  common 
speech ;  a  good  word,  and  a  noble  one. 

In  Modern  High  German,  the  corresponding  Mutterzunge,  found 
in  Sebastian  Franck  (sixteenth  century)  has  gradually  given  way 
to  Muttersprache,  2l  word  whose  history  is  full  of  interest.  In 
Germany,  as  in  Europe  generally,  the  esteem  in  which  Latin  was 
held  in  the  Middle  Ages  and  the  centuries  immediately  following 
them,  forbade  almost  entirely  the  birth  or  extension  of  praise- 
worthy and  endearing  names  for  the  speech  of  the  common  people 
of  the  country.  So  long  as  men  spoke  of  "  hiding  the  beauties  of 
Latin  in  homely  German  words,"  and  a  Bacon  could  think  of  writ- 
ing his  chief  work  in  Latin,  in  order  that  he  might  be  remembered 
after  his  death,  it  were  vain  to  expect  aught  else. 

Hence,  it  does  not  surprise  ns  to  learn  that  the  word  Mutter- 
sprojche  is  not  many  centuries  old  in  German.  Dr.  Ltibben, 
who  has  studied  its  history,  says  it  is  not  to  be  found  in  Old 
High  German  or  Middle  High  German  (or  Middle  Low  German), 
and  does  not  appear  even  in  Luther's  works,  though,  judging  from 
a  certain  passage  in  his  Table  Talk,  it  was  perhaps  known  to  him. 
It  was  only  in  the  seventeenth  century  that  the  word  became 
quite  common.  Weigand  states  that  it  was  already  in  the  Dictio- 
narium  latino-germanicum  (Zurich,  1556),  and  in  Maaler's  Die 
Teiitsch  Spraach  (Zilrich,  1561),  in  which  latter  work  (S.  262  a) 
we  meet  with  the  expressions  vemacula  lingua,  patrius  sermo, 
landspraach,  muoterliche  spraach,  and  muoterspraach  (S.  295  c). 
Opitz  (1624)  uses  the  word,  and  it  is  found  in  Schottel's  Teutsche 
Haupt-Sprache  (Braunschweig,  1663).  Apparently  the  earliest 
known  citation  is  the  Low  (Jerman  modersprake,  found  in  the 
introduction  of  Dietrich  Engelhus'  (of  Einbeck)  Deutsche  Chronik 

Nowadays  Muttersprache  is  found  everywhere  in  the  German 
book-language,  but  Dr.  Lilbben,  in  1881,  declared  that  he  had 

24  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

never  heard  it  from  the  mouth  of  the  Low  German  folk,  with 
whom  the  word  was  always  lantsprake,  gemene  sprake.  Hence, 
although  the  word  has  been  immortalized  by  Klaus  Groth,  the 
Low  German  Burns,  in  the  first  poem  of  his  Quickborn :  — 

"Min  Modersprak,  so  slicM  un  recht, 
Du  ole  frame  Rqd ! 
Wenn  blot  en  Mund  '  min  Vader '  seggt, 
So  klingt  mi't  as  en  B^d," 

and  by  Johann  Meyer,  in  his  Ditmarsclier  Gedichte :  — 

"  Vaderhus  un  Modersprak  ! 
Lat  mi't  nom'n  un  lat  mi't  rop'n  ; 
Vaderhus,  du  belli  St^d, 
Modersprak,  du  frame  ll^d, 
Schonres  klingt  der  Nix  tobopen," 

it  may  be  that  modersprak  is  not  entirely  a  word  of  Low  German 
origin ;  beautiful  though  it  is,  this  dialect,  so  closely  akin  to  our 
own  English,  did  not  directly  give  it  birth.  Nor  do  the  corre- 
sponding terms  in  the  other  Teutonic  dialects,  —  Dutch  moeder- 
spraak,  moedertaal,  Swedish  modersmal,  etc.,  —  seem  more  original. 
The  Romance  languages,  however,  offer  a  clue.  In  French,  langue 
m^re  is  a  purely  scientific  term  of  recent  origin,  denoting  the 
root-language  of  a  number  of  dialects,  or  of  a  "  family  of  speech," 
and  does  not  appear  as  the  equivalent  of  Mxitterspraclie.  The 
equivalents  of  the  latter  are  :  French,  langue  matemelle  ;  Spanish, 
lengua  matema;  Italian,  lingua  materna,  etc.,  all  of  which  are 
modifications  or  imitations  of  a  Low  Latin  lingua  materna,  or 
lingua  maternalis.  The  Latin  of  the  classic  period  seems  not  to 
have  possessed  this  term,  the  locutions  in  use  being  sermo  noster, 
patnus  sermo,  etc.  The  Greek  had  r/  iyxiapio<i  yXGxra-a,  rf  iSia  yAwo-o-a, 
etc.  Direct  translations  are  met  with  in  the  moderlike  sprake  of 
Daniel  von  Soest,  of  Westphalia  (sixteenth  century),  and  the 
muoterliche  spraach  of  Maaler  (1S61).  It  is  from  an  Italian- 
Latin  source  that  Dr.  Lllbben  supposes  that  the  German  proto- 
types of  modersprak  and  Muttersprache  arose.  In  the  B6k  der 
Byen,  a  semi-Low  German  translation  (fifteenth  century)  of  the 
Liber  Apium  of  Thomas  of  Chantimpre,  occurs  the  word  modertale 
in  the  passage  "  Christus  sede  to  er  [the  Samaritan  woman]  mit 
sachte  stemme  in  erre  modertale."     A  municipal  book  of  Treuen- 

Lore  of  Motherhood.  26 

brietzen  informs  us  that  in  the  year  1361  it  was  resolved  to  write 
in  the  ydeoma  matemale  —  what  the  equivalent  of  this  was  in  the 
common  speech  is  not  stated  —  and  in  the  Relatio  of  Hesso,  we 
find  the  term  materna  lingua  (105  a). 

The  various  dialects  have  some  variants  of  Muttersprache,  and 
in  Gottingen  we  meet  with  moimen  spraken,  where  moime  (cog- 
nate with  Modem  High  German  Muhme,  "aunt"),  signifies 
"  mother,"  and  is  a  child-word. 

From  the  mother-tongue  to  the  mother-land  is  but  a  step.  As 
the  speech  she  taught  her  babe  bears  the  mother's  name,  so  does 
also  the  land  her  toil  won  from  the  wilderness. 


As  we  say  in  English  most  commonly  "  native  city,"  so  also  we 
say  "  native  land."    Even  Byron  sings :  — 

"  Adieu,  adieu  !  my  native  shore 
Fades  o'er  the  waters  blue; 
•  «  »  » 

My  native  land  —  good  night !  " 

and  Fitz-Greene  Halleck,  in  his  patriotic  poem  "  Marco  Bozzaris,** 
bids  strike  "  For  God,  and  your  native  land." 
Scott's  far-famed  lines  :  — 

"  Breathes  there  a  man  with  soul  so  dead. 
Who  never  to  himself  has  said, 
This  is  my  own,  my  native  land  ! " 

and  Smith's  national  hymn,  "  My  country,  'tis  of  thee,"  know  no 

In  the  great  Century  Dictionary,  the  only  illustration  cited  of 
the  use  of  the  word  mother-land  is  a  very  recent  one,  from  the 
Century  Magazine  (vol.  xxix.  p.  507). 

Shakespeare,  however,  comes  very  near  it,  when,  in  King  John 
(V.  ii.),  he  makes  the  Bastard  speak  of  "your  dear  Mother- 
England,"  —  but  this  is  not  quite  "  mother-land." 

In  German,  though,  through  the  sterner  influences  which  sur- 
rounded the  Empire  in  its  birth  and  reorganization,  Vaterland  is 
now  the  word,  Mutterland  was  used  by  Kant,  Wieland,  Goethe, 
Herder,  Uhland,  etc.     Lippert  suggests  an  ingenious  explanation 

26  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

of  the  origin  of  tlie  terms  Mutterland,  Vaterland,  as  well  as  for  the 
predominance  of  the  latter  and  younger  word.  If,  in  primitive 
times,  man  alone  could  hold  property,  —  women  even  and  children 
were  his  chattels,  —  yet  the  development  of  agriculture  and  horti- 
culture at  the  hands  of  woman  created,  as  it  were,  a  new  species 
of  property,  property  in  land,  the  result  of  woman's  toil  and  labour ; 
and  this  new  property,  in  days  when  "mother-right"  prevailed, 
came  to  be  called  Muttei'land,  as  it  was  essentially  "  mothers'  land." 
But  when  men  began  to  go  forth  to  war,  and  to  conquer  and  acquire 
land  that  was  not  "  mothers'  land,"  a  new  species  of  landed 
property,  —  the  "land  of  the  conquering  father,"  —  came  into 
existence  (and  with  it  a  new  theory  of  succession,  "  father-right"), 
and  from  that  time  forward  "  Vaterland  "  has  extended  its  signifi- 
cation, until  it  has  attained  the  meaning  which  it  possesses  in  the 
German  speech  of  to-day  (492.  33,  36). 

The  inhabitants  of  the  British  colonies  scattered  all  over  the 
world  speak  of  Britain  as  the  "mother  country,"  "Mother  Eng- 
land " ;  and  R.  H.  Stoddard,  the  American  poet,  calls  her  "  our 
Mother's  Mother."  The  French  of  Canada  term  France  over-sea 
"  la  mere  patrie  "  (mother  fatherland). 

Even  Livy,  the  Roman  historian,  wrote  terra  quam  matrem 
appellamus,  —  "  the  land  we  call  mother,"  —  and  Virgil  speaks  of 
Apollo's  native  Delos  as  Delum  maternum.  But  for  all  this,  the 
proud  Roman  called  his  native  land,  not  after  his  mother,  but  after 
his  father,  patna;  so  also  in  corresponding  terms  the  Greek, 
Trarpcs,  etc.  But  the  latter  remembered  his  mother  also,  as  the 
word  metropolis,  which  we  have  inherited,  shows.  Mr]Tp6iroXi<;  had 
the  meanings :  "  mother-state  "  (whence  daughter-colonies  went 
forth)  ;  "  a  chief  city,  a  capital,  metropolis ;  one's  mother-city,  or 
mother-country."  In  English,  metropolis  has  been  associated  with 
"  mother-church,"  for  a  metropolis  or  a  metropolitan  city,  was  long 
one  which  was  the  seat  of  a  bishopric. 

Among  the  ancient  Greeks  the  Cretans  were  remarkable  for 
saying  not  Trarpts  (father-land),  but  /xT/rpts  (mother-land),  by  which 
name  also  the  Messenians  called  their  native  land.  Some  light 
upon  the  loss  of  "  mother- words  "  in  ancient  Greece  may  be  shed 
from  the  legend  which  tells  that  when  the  question  came  whether 
the  new  town  was  to  be  named  after  Athene  or  Poseidon,  all  the 
women  voted  for  the  former,  carrying  the  day  by  a  single  vote. 

Iiore  of  Motherhood.  27 

whereupon  Poseidon,  in  anger,  sent  a  flood,  and  the  men,  determin- 
ing to  punish  their  wives,  deprived  them  of  the  power  of  voting, 
and  decided  that  thereafter  children  were  not  to  be  named  after 
their  mothers  (115.  235). 

In  Gothic,  we  meet  with  a  curious  term  for  "native  land,  home," 
gdbaurths  (tTom gabairan  "to bear"),  which  signifies  also  "birth." 
As  an  exemplification  of  the  idea  in  the  Sophoclean  phrase  "  all- 
nourishing  earth,"  we  find  that  at  an  earlier  stage  in  the  history 
of  our  own  English  tongue  erd  (cognate  with  our  earth)  signified 
"native  land,"  a  remembrance  of  that  view  of  savage  and  un- 
civilized peoples  in  which  earth,  land  are  "native  country,"  for 
these  are,  in  the  true  sense  of  the  term,  Landesleute,  homines. 

In  the  language  of  the  Hervey  Islands,  in  the  South  Pacific, "  the 
place  in  which  the  placenta  of  an  infant  is  buried  is  called  the 
ipukarea,  or  native  soil "  (459.  26). 

Our  English  language  seems  still  to  prefer  "  native  city,  native 
town,  native  village,"  as  well  as  "'native  land,"  "mother-city" 
usually  signifying  an  older  town  from  which  younger  ones  have 
come  forth.  In  German,  though  Vaterstadt  in  analogy  with  Vater- 
land  seems  to  be  the  favorite,  Mutterstadt  is  not  unknown. 

Besides  Mutterland  and  Mutterstadt,  we  find  in  German  the 
following :  — 

Mutterboden,  "  mother-land."     Used  by  the  poet  Uliland. 
Muttergejllde,  "  the  fields  of  mother-earth."     Used  by  SchlegeL 
Muttergrund,  "  the  earth,"  as  productive  of  all  things.     Used  by  Goethe. 
Mutterhimmel,  "  the  sky  above  one's  native  land."     Used  by  the  poet 

Mutterluft,  "  the  air  of  one's  native  land." 

Mutterhaus,  "  the  source,  origin  of  anything."    Uhland  even  has :  — 

"  Hier  ist  des  Stromes  Mutterhaus, 
Ich  trink  ihn  frisch  vom  Stein  heraus." 

More  far-reaching,  diviner  than  "mother-land,"  is  "mother- 

The  Child's  Tribute  to  the  Mother  (^Continued). 

To  the  child  its  mother  should  be  as  God.  —  G.  Stanley  Hall. 

A  mother  is  the  holiest  thing  alive.  —  Coleridge. 

God  pardons  like  a  mother,  who  kisses  the  offence  into  everlasting  forgetful- 
ness. —  Henry  Ward  Beecher. 

When  the  social  world  was  written  in  terms  of  mother-right,  the  religious 
world  was  expressed  in  terms  of  mother-god. 

There  is  nothing  more  charming  than  to  see  a  mother  with  a  child  in  her  arms, 
and  nothing  more  venerable  than  a  mother  among  a  niunber  of  her  children. — 


"Earth,  Mother  of  all,"  is  a  world-wide  goddess.  Professor 
0.  T.  Mason  says :  "  The  earth  is  the  mother  of  all  mankind.  Out 
of  her  came  they.  Her  traits,  attributes,  characteristics,  they 
have  so  thoroughly  inherited  and  imbibed,  that,  from  any  doc- 
trinal point  of  view  regarding  the  origin  of  the  species,  the  earth 
may  be  said  to  have  been  created  for  men,  and  men  to  have  been 
created  out  of  the  earth.  By  her  nurture  and  tuition  they  grow 
up  and  flourish,  and,  folded  in  her  bosom,  they  sleep  the  sleep 
of  death.  The  idea  of  the  earth-mother  is  in  every  cosmogony. 
Nothing  is  more  beautiful  in  the  range  of  mythology  than  the 
conception  of  Demeter  with  Persephone,  impersonating  the  mater- 
nal earth,  rejoicing  in  the  perpetual  return  of  her  daughter  in 
spring,  and  mourning  over  her  departure  in  winter  to  Hades" 
(389  (1894).  140). 

Dr.  D.  G.  Brinton  writes  in  the  same  strain  (409.  238) :  "  Out  of 
the  earth  rises  life,  to  it  it  returns.  She  it  is  who  guards  all 
germs,  nourishes  all  beings.  The  Aztecs  painted  her  as  a  woman 
with  countless  breasts ;  the  Peruvians  called  her  '  Mama  Allpa,' 


Lore  of  Motherhood.  29 

mother  Earth;  in  the  Algonkin  tongue,  the  words  for  earth, 
mother,  father,  are  from  the  same  root.  Homo,  Adam,  chamai- 
genes,  what  do  all  these  words  mean  but  earth-born,  the  son  of  the 
soil,  repeated  in  the  poetic  language  of  Attica  in  anthropos,  he 
who  springs  up  like  a  flower  ?  " 

Mr.  W.  J.  McGee,  treating  of  "Earth  the  Home  of  Man," 
says  (502.  28):  — 

"  In  like  manner,  mankind,  offspring  of  Mother  Earth,  cradled 
and  nursed  through  helpless  infancy  by  things  earthly,  has  been 
brought  well  towards  maturity ;  and,  like  the  individual  man,  he 
is  repaying  the  debt  unconsciously  assumed  at  the  birth  of  his 
kind,  by  transforming  the  face  of  nature,  by  making  all  things 
better  than  they  were  before,  by  aiding  the  good  and  destroying 
the  bad  among  animals  and  plants,  and  by  protecting  the  aging 
earth  from  the  ravages  of  time  and  failing  strength,  even  as  the 
child  protects  his  fleshly  mother.  Such  are  the  relations  of  earth 
and  man.'' 

The  Roman  babe  had  no  right  to  live  until  the  father  lifted 
him  up  from  "  mother-earth  "  upon  which  he  lay ;  at  the  baptism 
of  the  ancient  Mexican  child,  the  mother  spoke  thus :  "  Thou  Sun, 
Father  of  all  that  live,  and  thou  Earth,  our  Mother,  take  ye  this 
child  and  guard  it  as  your  son  "  (529.  97)  ;  and  among  the  Gypsies 
of  northern  Hungary,  at  a  baptism,  the  oldest  woman  present 
takes  the  child  out,  and,  digging  a  circular  trench  around  the 
little  one,  whom  she  has  placed  upon  the  earth,  utters  the  follow- 
ing words :  "  Like  this  Earth,  be  thou  strong  and  great,  may  thy 
heart  be  free  from  care,  be  merry  as  a  bird"  (392  (1891).  20).  All 
of  these  practices  have  their  analogues  in  other  parts  of  the  globe. 

In  another  way,  infanticide  is  connected  with  "  mother-earth." 
In  the  book  of  the  "Wisdom  of  Solomon"  (xiv.  23)  we  read: 
"  They  slew  their  children  in  sacrifices."  Infanticide  —  "  murder 
most  foul,  as  in  the  best  it  is,  but  this  most  foul,  strange,  and 
unnatural"  —  has  been  sheltered  beneath  the  cloak  of  religion. 
The  story  is  one  of  the  darkest  pages  in  the  history  of  man.  A 
priestly  legend  of  the  Khonds  of  India  attributes  to  child-sacrifice 
a  divine  origin  :  — 

"  In  the  beginning  was  the  Earth  a  formless  mass  of  mud,  and 
could  not  have  borne  the  dwelling  of  man,  or  even  his  weight ;  in 
this  liquid  and  ever-moving  slime  neither  tree  nor  herb  took  root. 

80  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

Tlien  God  said :  '  Spill  human  blood  before  my  face  ! '  And  tbey 
sacrificed  a  child  before  Him.  .  .  .  Falling  upon  the  soil,  the 
bloody  drops  stiffened  and  consolidated  it." 

But  too  well  have  the  Khonds  obeyed  the  command :  "  And  by 
the  virtues  of  the  blood  shed,  the  seeds  began  to  sprout,  the 
plants  to  grow,  the  animals  to  propagate.  And  God  commanded 
that  the  Earth  should  be  watered  with  blood  every  new  season,  to 
keep  her  firm  and  solid.  And  this  has  been  done  by  every  gener- 
ation that  has  preceded  us." 

More  than  once  "  the  mother,  with  her  boys  and  girls,  and  per- 
haps even  a  little  child  in  her  arms,  were  immolated  together," 
—  for  sometimes  the  wretched  children,  instead  of  being  immedi- 
ately sacrificed,  were  allowed  to  live  until  they  had  offspring 
whose  sad  fate  was  determined  ere  their  birth.  In  the  work 
of  Reclus  may  be  read  the  fearful  tale  of  the  cult  of  "  Pennou, 
the  terrible  earth-deity,  the  bride  of  the  great  Sun-God  "  (523.  315). 

In  Tonga  the  paleness  of  the  moon  is  explained  by  the  follow- 
ing legend :  Vatea  (Day)  and  Tongariti  (Night)  each  claimed  the 
first-born  of  Papa  (Earth)  as  his  own  child.  After  they  had 
quarrelled  a  great  deal,  the  infant  was  cut  in  two,  and  Vatea,  the 
husband  of  Papa,  "  took  the  upper  part  as  his  share,  and  forth- 
with squeezed  it  into  a  ball  and  tossed  it  into  the  heavens,  where 
it  became  the  sun."  But  Tonga-iti,  in  sullen  humour,  let  his  half 
remain  on  the  ground  for  a  day  or  two.  Afterward,  however, 
"  seeing  the  brightness  of  Vatea's  half,  he  resolved  to  imitate  his 
example  by  compressing  his  share  into  a  ball,  and  tossing  it  into 
the  dark  sky  during  the  absence  of  the  sun  in  Avaiki,  or  nether- 
world." It  became  the  moon,  which  is  so  pale  by  reason  of  "  the 
blood  having  all  drained  out  and  decomposition  having  com- 
menced," before  Tongariti  threw  his  half  up  into  the  sky  (458. 
45).  With  other  primitive  peoples,  too,  the  gods  were  infanti- 
cidal,  and  many  nations  like  those  of  Asia  Minor,  who  offered  up 
the  virginity  of  their  daughters  upon  the  altars  of  their  deities, 
hesitated  not  to  slay  upon  their  high  places  the  first  innocent 
pledges  of  motherhood. 

The  earth-goddess  appears  again  when  the  child  enters  upon 
manhood,  for  at  Brahman  marriages  in  India,  the  bridegroom  still 
says  to  the  bride,  "  I  am  the  sky,  thou  art  the  earth,  come  let  us 
marry"  (421.29). 

Lore  of  Motherhood.  31 

And  last  of  all,  when  the  ineluctable  struggle  of  death  is  over, 
man  returns  to  the  "  mother-earth  "  —  dust  to  dust.  One  of  the 
hymns  of  the  Rig-Veda  has  these  beautiful  words,  forming  part 
of  the  funeral  ceremonies  of  the  old  Hindus :  — 

"  Approach  thou  uow  the  lap  of  Earth,  thy  mother. 
The  wide-extending  Earth,  the  ever-kindly  ; 
A  maiden  soft  as  wool  to  him  who  comes  with  gifts, 
She  shall  protect  thee  from  destruction's  bosom. 

"Open  thyself,  0  Earth,  and  press  not  heavily ; 
Be  easy  of  access  and  of  approach  to  him, 
As  mother  with  her  robe  her  child. 

So  do  thou  cover  him,  O  Earth  ! "  (421.  31). 

The  study  of  the  mortuary  rites  and  customs  of  the  primitive 
peoples  of  all  ages  of  the  world's  history  (548)  reveals  many  in- 
stances of  the  belief  that  when  men,  "the  common  growth  of 
mother-earth,"  at  last  rest  their  heads  upon  her  lap,  they  do  not 
wholly  die,  for  the  immortality  of  Earth  is  theirs.  "WTiether  they 
live  again,  —  as  little  children  are  often  fabled  to  do,  —  when 
Earth  laughs  with  flowers  of  spring,  or  become  Incarnate  in  other 
members  of  the  animate  or  inanimate  creation,  whose  kinship  with 
man  and  with  God  is  an  article  of  the  great  folk-creed,  or,  in  the 
beautiful  words  of  the  burial  service  of  the  Episcopal  Church, 
sleep  "  earth  to  earth,  ashes  to  ashes,  dust  to  dust,  in  sure  and 
certain  hope  of  the  resurrection,"  all  testifies  that  man  is  instinct 
with  the  life  that  throbs  in  the  bosom  of  Earth,  his  Mother.  As 
of  old,  the  story  ran  that  man  grew  into  being  from  the  dust,  or 
sprang  forth  in  god-like  majesty,  so,  when  death  has  come,  he 
sinks  to  dust  again,  or  triumphantly  scales  the  lofty  heights  where 
dwell  the  immortal  deities,  and  becomes  "  as  one  of  them." 

With  the  idea  of  the  earth-mother  are  connected  the  numerous 
myths  of  the  origin  of  the  first  human  beings  from  clay,  mould,  etc., 
their  provenience  from  caves,  holes  in  the  ground,  rocks  and  moun- 
tains, especially  those  in  which  the  woman  is  said  to  have  been 
created  first  (509.  110).  Here  belong  also  not  a  few  ethnic  names, 
for  many  primitive  peoples  have  seen  fit  to  call  themselves  "  sons 
of  the  soil,  terrceJUii,  Landesleute." 

Mtiller  and  Brinton  have  much  to  say  of  the  American  earth- 
goddesses,  Tocij  *'  our  mother,"  and  goddess  of  childbirth  among  the 

32  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

ancient  Mexicans  (509.  494) ;  tlie  Peruvian  Pachamama,  "  motlier- 
earth,"  the  motlier  of  men  (509.  369)  ;  the  "  earth-mother  "  of  the 
Caribs,  who  through  earthquakes  manifests  her  animation  and 
cheerfulness  to  her  children,  the  Indians,  who  forthwith  imitate 
her  in  joyous  dances  (509.  221) ;  the  '*  mother-earth  "  of  the  Shaw- 
nees,  of  whom  the  Indian  chief  spoke,  when  he  was  bidden  to 
regard  General  Harrison  as  "  Father " :  "  No,  the  sun  yonder  is 
my  father,  and  the  earth  my  mother;  upon  her  bosom  will  I 
repose,"  etc.  (509.  117). 

Among  the  earth-goddesses  of  ancient  Greece  and  Rome  are 
Demeter,  Ceres,  Tellus,  Ehea,  Terra,  Ops,  Cybele,  Bona  Dea, 
Bona  Mater,  Magna  Mater,  Gsea,  Ge,  whose  attributes  and  cere- 
monies are  described  in  the  books  of  classical  mythology.  Many 
times  they  are  termed  "  mother  of  the  gods  "  and  "  mother  of 
men  " ;  Cybele  is  sometimes  represented  as  a  woman  advanced  in 
pregnancy  or  as  a  woman  with  many  breasts ;  Rhea,  or  Cybele,  as 
the  hill-enthroned  protectress  of  cities,  was  styled  Mater  turrita. 

The  ancient  Teutons  had  their  Hertha,  or  Erdemutter,  the 
Nertha  of  Tacitus,  and  fragments  of  the  primitive  earth-worship 
linger  yet  among  the  folk  of  kindred  stock.  The  Slavonic  peoples 
had  their  "  earth-mother  "  also. 

The  ancient  Indian  Aryans  worshipped  Prithivi-matar,  "  earth- 
mother,"  and  Dyaus  pitar,  "  sky-father,"  and  in  China,  Yang,  Sky, 
is  regarded  as  the  "  father  of  all  things,"  while  Yu,  Earth,  is  the 
"  mother  of  all  things." 

Among  the  ancient  Egyptians  the  "  earth-mother,"  the  "  parent 
of  all  things  born,"  was  Isis,  the  wife  of  the  great  Osiris. 

The  natal  ceremonies  of  the  Indians  of  the  Sia  Pueblo  have 
been  described  at  great  length  by  Mrs.  Stevenson  (538.  132-143). 
Before  the  mother  is  delivered  of  her  child  the  priest  repeats  in 
a  low  tone  the  following  prayer :  — 

"Here  is  the  child's  sand-bed.  May  the  child  have  good 
thoughts  and  know  its  mother-earth,  the  giver  of  food.  May 
it  have  good  thoughts  and  grow  from  childhood  to  manhood. 
May  the  child  be  beautiful  and  happy.  Here  is  the  child's  bed ; 
may  the  child  be  beautiful  and  happy.  Ashes  man,  let  me  make 
good  medicine  for  the  child.  We  will  receive  the  child  into  our 
arms,  that  it  may  be  happy  and  contented.  May  it  grow  from 
childhood  to  manhood.     May  it  know  its  mother  Ut's6t  [the  first 

Lore  of  Motherhood,  33 

created  woman],  the  Ko'pishtaia,  and  its  mother-earth.  May  the 
child  have  good  thoughts  and  grow  from  childhood  to  manhood. 
May  it  be  beautiful  and  happy  "  (538.  134). 

On  -the  fourth  morning  after  the  birth  of  the  child,  the  doctress 
in  attendance,  "  stooping  until  she  almost  sits  on  the  ground, 
bares  the  child's  head  as  she  holds  it  toward  the  rising  sun,  and 
repeats  a  long  prayer,  and,  addressing  the  child,  she  says:  'I 
bring  you  to  see  your  Sun-father  and  Ko'pishtaia,  that  you  may 
know  them  and  they  you ' "  (538.  141). 


Though  we  are  now  accustomed,  by  reason  of  their  grandeur  and 
sublimity,  to  personify  mountains  as  masculine,  the  old  fable  of 
Phsedrus  about  the  "mountain  in  labour,  that  brought  forth  a 
mouse,"  —  as  Horace  has  it,  Mantes  laborabant  et  parturitur  ridi- 
culus  mus,  —  shows  that  another  concept  was  not  unknown  to  the 
ancients.  The  Armenians  call  Mount  Ararat  "Mother  of  the 
World"  (500.  39),  and  the  Spaniards  speak  of  a  chief  range  of 
mountains  as  Sierra  Madre.  In  mining  we  meet  with  the  "  mother- 
lode,"  veta  madre,  but,  curiously  enough,  the  main  shaft  is  called 
in  German  Vaterschacht. 

We  know  that  the  Lapps  and  some  other  primitive  peoples 
"transferred  to  stones  the  domestic  relations  of  father,  mother, 
and  child,"  or  regarded  them  as  children  of  Mother-Earth  (529. 
64) ;  "  eggs  of  the  earth "  they  are  called  in  the  magic  songs  of 
the  Finns.  In  Suffolk,  England,  "  conglomerate  is  called  *  mother 
of  stones,'  under  the  idea  that  pebbles  are  born  of  it " ;  in  Ger- 
many Mutterstein.  And  in  litholatry,  in  various  parts  of  the 
globe,  we  have  ideas  which  spring  from  like  conceptions. 


Milton  speaks  of  the  "wide  womb  of  uncreate  night,"  and 
some  of  the  ancient  classical  poets  call  Nox  "the  mother  of  all 
things,  of  gods  as  well  as  men."  "  The  Night  is  Mother  of  the 
Day,"  says  Whittier,  and  the  myth  he  revives  is  an  old  and  wide- 
spread one.  "  Out  of  Night  is  born  day,  as  a  child  comes  forth 
from  the  womb  of  his  mother,"  said  the  Greek  and  Eoman  of 

84  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

old.  As  Baclofen  (6.  16,  219)  remarks :  "  Das  Mutterthum  ver- 
bindet  sich  mit  der  Idee  der  den  Tag  aus  sich  gebierenden  Nacht, 
wie  das  Vaterrecht  dem  Reiche  des  Lichts,  dem  von  der  Sonne 
mit  der  Mutter  Nacht  gezeugten  Tage."  Darkness,  Night,  Earth, 
Motherhood,  seem  all  akin  in  the  dim  light  of  primitive  phi-, 
losophy.  Yet  night  is  not  always  figured  as  a  woman.  James 
Ferguson,  the  Scotch  poet,  tells  us  how 

"  Auld  Daddy  Darkness  creeps  frae  his  hole, 
Black  as  a  blackamoor,  Win'  as  a  mole," 

and  holds  dominion  over  earth  till  "  Wee  Davie  Daylicht  comes 
keekin'  owre  the  hill  "  (230.  73). 

An  old  Anglo-Saxon  name  for  Christmas  was  modra-neht, 
"mother's  night." 


In  Sanskrit  mythology  Ushas,  "  Dawn,"  is  daughter  of  Heaven, 
and  poetically  she  is  represented  as  "a  young  wife  awakening 
her  children  and  giving  them  new  strength  for  the  toils  of  the 
new  day." 

Sometimes  she  is  termed  gdvdm  gdnitrl,  "the  mother  of  the 
cows,"  which  latter  mythologists  consider  to  be  either  "  the  clouds 
which  pour  water  on  the  fields,  or  the  bright  mornings  which, 
like  cows,  are  supposed  to  step  out  one  by  one  from  the  stable  of 
the  night"  (510.431). 

In  an  ancient  Hindu  hymn  to  Ushas  we  read :  — 

"  She  shines  upon  us  like  a  young  wife,  rousing  every  living  being  to  go  to 
his  work.  When  the  fire  had  to  be  kindled  by  men,  she  made  the  light  by 
striking  down  darkness. 

"  She  rose  up,  spreading  far  and  wide,  and  moving  everywhere.  She  grew 
in  brightness,  wearing  her  brilliant  garment.  The  mother  of  the  cows,  the 
leader  of  the  days,  she  shone  gold-coloured,  lovely  to  behold"  (421.  29). 

This  daughter  of  the  sky  was  the  "  lengthener  of  life,  the  love 
of  all,  the  giver  of  food,  riches,  blessings."  According  to  Dr. 
Brinton,  the  Quiche  Indians  of  Guatemala  speak  of  Xmucane  and 
Xpiyacoc  as  being  "  the  great  ancestress  and  the  great  ancestor  " 
of  all  things.  The  former  is  called  r'atit  zih,  r'atit  zak,  "  primal 
mother  of  the  sun  and  light"  (411.  119). 

Lore  of  Motherhood.  35 


In  Russia  we  meet  with  the  days  of  the  week  as  "  mothers." 
Perhaps  the  most  remarkable  of  these  is  "Mother  Friday,"  a 
curious  product  of  the  mingling  of  Christian  hagiology  and  Sla- 
vonic mythology,  of  St.  Prascovia  and  the  goddess  Siwa.  On  the 
day  sacred  to  her,  "  Mother  Friday "  wanders  about  the  houses 
of  the  peasants,  avenging  herself  on  such  as  have  been  so  rash  as 
to  sew,  spin,  weave,  etc.,  on  a  Friday  (520.  206). 

In  a  Wallachian  tale  appear  three  supernatural  females,  —  the 
holy  mothers  Friday,  Wednesday,  and  Sunday,  —  who  assist  the 
hero  in  his  quest  of  the  heroine,  and  in  another  Wallachian  story 
they  help  a  wife  to  find  her  lost  husband. 

"  Mother  Sunday  "  is  said  "  to  rule  the  animal  world,  and  can 
collect  her  subjects  by  playing  on  a  magic  flute.  She  is  repre- 
sented as  exercising  authority  over  both  birds  and  beasts,  and  in 
a  Slovak  story  she  bestows  on  the  hero  a  magic  horse  "  (520. 211). 
In  Bulgaria  we  even  find  mother-months,  and  Miss  Garnett  has 
given  an  account  of  the  siiperstition  of  "  Mother  March  "  among 
the  women  of  that  country  (61. 1.  330).  William  Miller,  the  poet- 
laureate  of  the  nursery,  sings  of  Ijady  Summer :  — 

"Birdie,  birdie,  weet  your  whistle  ! 

Sing  a  sang  to  please  the  wean ; 
Let  it  be  o'  Lady  Summer 

Walking  wi'  her  gallant  train ! 
Sing  him  how  her  gaucy  mantle, 

Forest-green,  trails  ower  the  lea, 
Broider'd  frae  the  dewy  hem  o't 

Wi'  the  field  flowers  to  the  knee  I 

*•  How  her  foot's  wi'  daisies  buskit, 

Kirtle  o'  the  primrose  hue, 
And  her  e'e  sae  like  my  laddie's, 

Glancing,  laughing,  loving  blue  ! 
How  we  meet  on  hill  and  valley, 

Children  sweet  as  fairest  flowers. 
Buds  and  blossoms  o'  affection, 

Kosy  wi'  the  sunny  hours"  (230. 161). 


In  certain  languages,  as  in  Modern  German,  the  word  for  "sun" 
is  feminine,  and  in  mythology  the  orb  of  day  often  appears  as  a 

86-  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

woman.  The  German  peasant  was  wont  to  address  the  sun  and 
the  moon  familiarly  as  "  Frau  Sonne  "  and  "  Herr  Mond,"  and  in 
a  Russian  folk-song  a  fair  maiden  sings  (520.  184)  :  — 

"  My  mother  is  the  beauteous  Sun, 
And  my  father,  the  bright  Moon ; 
My  brothers  are  the  many  Stars, 
And  my  sisters  the  white  Dawns." 

Jean  Paul  beautifully  terms  the  sun  "  Sonne,  du  Mutterauge 
der  Welt ! "  and  Holty  sings :  "  Geh  aus  deinem  Gezelt,  Mutter 
des  Tags  hervor,  und  vergillde  die  wache  Welt " ;  in  another 
passage  the  last  writer  thus  apostrophizes  the  sun :  "  Heil  dir, 
Mutter  des  Lichts ! "  These  terms  "  mother-eye  of  the  world," 
"mother  of  day,"  "mother  of  light,"  find  analogues  in  other 
tongues.  The  Andaman  Islanders  have  their  clidn-a  bO-dd, 
"  mother-sun "  (498.  96),  and  certain  Indians  of  Brazil  call  the 
sun  coaraqy,  "  mother  of  the  day  or  earth."  In  their  sacred  lan- 
guage the  Dakota  Indians  speak  of  the  sun  as  "  grandmother  "  and 
the  moon  as  "  grandfather."  The  Chiquito  Indians  "  used  to  call 
the  sun  their  mother,  and,  at  every  eclipse  of  the  sun,  they  would 
shoot  their  arrows  so  as  to  wound  it ;  they  would  let  loose  their 
dogs,  who,  they  thought,  went  instantly  to  devour  the  moon  " 
(100.  289). 

The  Yuchi  Indians  called  themselves  "children  of  the  sun." 
Dr.  Gatschet  tells  us  :  "  The  Yuchis  believe  themselves  to  be  the 
offspring  of  the  sun,  which  they  consider  to  be  a  female.  Accord- 
ing to  one  myth,  a  couple  of  human  beings  were  born  from  her 
monthly  efflux,  and  from  these  the  Yuchis  afterward  originated." 
Another  myth  of  the  same  people  says:  "An  unknown  myste- 
rious being  once  came  down  upon  the  earth  and  met  people  there 
who  were  the  ancestors  of  the  Yuchi  Indians.  To  them  this 
being  (Hi'ki,  or  Ka'la  hi'ki)  taught  many  of  the  arts  of  life,  and 
in  matters  of  religion  admonished  them  to  call  the  sun  their 
mother  as  a  matter  of  worship  "  (389  (1893).  280). 

_-    --        .  „  Mother-Moon. 

bhelley  smgs  of 

"That  orbfed  maiden,  with  white  fire  laden, 
Whom  mortals  call  the  moon," 

Lore  of  Motherhood.  37 

and  in  other  languages  besides  Latin  the  word  for  moon  is  femi- 
nine, and  the  limar  deity  a  female,  often  associated  with  child- 
birth. The  moon-goddesses  of  the  Orient — Diana  (Juno),  Astarte, 
Anahifa,  etc.  —  preside  over  the  beginnings  of  human  life. 

Not  a  few  primitive  peoples  have  thought  of  the  moon  as  mother. 
The  ancient  Peruvians  worshipped  Mama-Quilla,  "  mother-moon," 
and  the  Hurons  regarded  Ataensic,  the  mother  or  grandmother  of 
Jouskeha,  the  sun,  as  the  "  creatress  of  earth  and  man,"  as  well  as 
the  goddess  of  death  and  of  the  souls  of  the  departed  (509.  363). 
The  Tarahumari  Indians  of  the  Sierra  of  Chihuahua,  Mexico,  call 
the  sun  au-nau-ru-a-mi,  ''high  father,"  and  the  laoan,  je-ru-Ormi, 
"high  mother."  The  Tupi  Indians  of  Brazil  term  the  moon  jacy, 
"our  mother,"  and  the  same  name  occurs  in  the  Omagua  and 
other  members  of  this  linguistic  stock.  The  Muzo  Indians 
believe  that  the  sun  is  their  father  and  the  moon  their  mother 
(529.  95). 

Horace  calls  the  moon  siderum  regina,  and  Apuleius,  regina 
coeli,  and  Milton  writes  of 

"  mooned  Ashtaroth, 
Heaven's  queen  and  mother  both." 

Froebel's  verses,  "  The  Little  Girl  and  the  Stars,"  are  stated  to 
be  based  upon  the  exclamation  of  the  child  when  seeing  two  large 
stars  close  together  in  the  heavens,  "  Father-Mother-Star,"  and  a 
further  instance  of  like  nature  is  cited  where  the  child  applied 
the  word  "  mother  "  to  the  moon. 


An  ancient  Greek  philosopher,  Heraclitus  of  Ephesus,  taught 
that  the  world  was  created  from  fire,  the  omnipotent  and  omni- 
scient essence,  and  with  many  savage  and  barbaric  peoples  fire- 
worship  has  flourished  or  still  flourishes.  The  Indie  Aryans  of 
old  produced  fire  by  the  method  of  the  twirling  stick,  and  in 
their  symbolism  "  the  turning  stick,  Pramanta,  was  the  father  of 
the  god  of  fire ;  the  immovable  stick  was  the  mother  of  the  ador- 
able and  luminous  Agni  [fire]"  —  a  concept  far-reaching  in  its 
mystic  and  mythological  relations  (100.  564). 

According  to  ^Mr.  Cushing  the  Zuni  Indians  term  fire  the 
"  Grandmother  of  Men." 

88  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

In  their  examination  of  the  burial-places  of  the  ancient  Indian 
population  of  the  Salado  River  Valley  in  Arizona,  the  Hemenway 
Exploring  Expedition  found  that  many  children  were  buried  near 
the  kitchen  hearths.  Mr.  Gushing  offers  the  following  explana- 
tion of  this  custom,  which  finds  analogies  in  various  parts  of  the 
world :  "  The  matriarchal  grandmother,  or  matron  of  the  house- 
hold deities,  is  the  fire.  It  is  considered  the  guardian,  as  it  is 
also,  being  used  for  cooking,  the  principal  '  source  of  life '  of  the 
family.  The  little  children  being  considered  unable  to  care  for 
themselves,  were  placed,  literally,  under  the  protection  of  the 
family  fire  that  their  soul-life  might  be  nourished,  sustained,  and 
increased  "  (501.  149).  Boeder  tells  us  that  the  Esthonian  bride 
"consecrates  her  new  home  and  hearth  by  an  offering  of  money 
cast  into  the  fire,  or  laid  on  the  oven,  for  Tule-ema,  [the]  Fire 
Mother"  (545.  II.  285).  In  a  Mongolian  wedding-song  there  is 
an  invocation  of  "  Mother  Ut,  Queen  of  Fire,"  who  is  said  to  have 
come  forth  "  when  heaven  and  earth  divided,"  and  to  have  issued 
"from  the  footsteps  of  Mother-Earth."  She  is  further  said  to 
have  "a  manly  son,  a  beauteous  daughter-in-law,  bright  daugh- 
ters "  (484.  38). 

Mother-  Water. 

The  poet  Homer  and  the  philosopher  Thales  of  Miletus  agreed 
in  regarding  water  as  the  primal  element,  the  original  of  all  exist- 
ences, and  their  theory  has  supporters  among  many  primitive 
peoples.  At  the  baptism  festivals  of  their  children,  the  ancient 
Mexicans  recognized  the  goddess  of  the  waters.  At  sunrise  the 
midwife  addressed  the  child,  saying,  among  other  things :  "  Be 
cleansed  with  thy  mother,  Chalchihuitlicue,  the  goddess  of  water." 
Then,  placing  her  dripping  finger  upon  the  child's  lips,  she  con- 
tinued :  "  Take  this,  for  on  it  thou  must  live,  grow,  become  strong, 
and  flourish.  Through  it  we  receive  all  our  needs.  Take  it." 
And,  again,  "We  are  all  in  the  hands  of  Chalchihuitlicue,  our 
mother " ;  as  she  washed  the  child  she  uttered  the  formula : 
"Bad,  whatever  thou  art,  depart,  vanish,  for  the  child  lives 
anew  and  is  born  again;  it  is  once  more  cleansed,  once  more 
renewed  through  our  mother  Chalchihuitlicue."  As  she  lifted 
the  child  up  into  the  air,  she  prayed,  "0  Goddess,  Mother  of 
Water,  fill  this  child  with  thy  power  and  virtue  "  (326.  I.  263). 

Lore  of  Motherhood.  89 

In  their  invocation  for  the  restoration  of  the  spirit  to  the  body, 
the  Kagualists,  —  a  native  American  mystic  sect,  —  of  Mexico 
and  Central  America,  make  appeal  to  "  Mother  mine,  whose  robe 
is  of  precious  gems,"  i.e.  water,  regarded  as  "the  universal 
mother."  The  "•  robe  of  precious  stones  "  refers  to  "  the  green  or 
vegetable  life  "  resembling  the  green  of  precious  stones.  Another 
of  her  names  is  the  "  Green  Woman,"  —  a  term  drawn  from  "the 
greenness  which  follows  moisture  "  (413.  52-54). 

The  idea  of  water  as  the  source  of  all  things  appears  also  in  the 
cosmology  of  the  Indie  Aryans.  In  one  of  the  Vedic  hymns  it  is 
stated  that  water  existed  before  even  the  gods  came  into  being, 
and  the  Rig-veda  tells  us  that  *'  the  waters  contained  a  germ  from 
which  everything  else  sprang  forth."  This  is  plainly  a  myth  of 
the  motherhood  of  the  waters,  for  in  the  Brahmanas  we  are  told 
that  from  the  water  arose  an  egg,  from  which  came  forth  after  a 
year  Pragapati,  the  creator  (510.  248).  Variants  of  this  myth  of 
the  cosmic  egg  are  found  in  other  quarters  of  the  globe. 


The  Chinchas  of  Peru  looked  upon  the  sea  as  the  chief  deity 
and  the  mother  of  all  things,  and  the  Peruvians  worshipped 
Mama-Coclia,  "  mother  sea"  (509.  368),  from  which  had  come  forth 
everything,  even  animals,  giants,  and  the  Indians  themselves. 
Associated  with  Mama-Cocha  was  the  god  Vira-Cocha,  "sea- 
foam."  In  Peru  water  was  revered  everywhere,  —  rivers  and 
canals,  fountains  and  wells,  —  and  many  sacrifices  were  made  to 
them,  especially  of  certain  sea-shells  which  were  thought  to  be 
"  daughters  of  the  sea,  the  mother  of  all  waters."  The  traditions 
of  the  Incas  point  to  an  origin  from  Lake  Titicaca,  and  other 
tribes  fabled  their  descent  from  fountains  and  streams  (412.  204). 
Here  belong,  doubtless,  some  of  the  myths  of  the  sea-bom  deities 
of  classical  mythology  as  well  as  those  of  the  water-origin  of  the 
first  of  the  human  race,  together  with  kindred  conceits  of  other 
primitive  peoples. 

In  the  Bengalese  tale  of  "  The  Boy  with  the  Moon  on  his  Fore- 
head," recorded  by  Day,  the  hero  pleads:  "0  mother  Ocean, 
please  make  way  for  me,  or  else  I  die "  (426.  250),  and  passes 
on  in   safety.     The  poet   Swinburne  calls  the  sea  "fair,  white 

40  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

motlier,"  "green-girdled  mother,"  "great,  sweet  mother,  mother 
and  lover  of  men,  the  sea." 


According  to  Eussian  legend  "  the  Dnieper,  Volga,  and  Dvina 
■used  once  to  be  living  people.  The  Dnieper  was  a  boy,  and  the 
Volga  and  Dvina  his  sisters."  The  Russians  call  their  great  river 
"  Mother  Volga,"  and  it  is  said  that,  in  the  seventeenth  century, 
a  chief  of  the  Don  Cossacks,  inflamed  with  wine,  sacrificed  to  the 
mighty  stream  a  Persian  princess,  accompanying  his  action  with 
these  words :  "  0  Mother  Volga,  thou  great  River !  much  hast  thou 
given  me  of  gold  and  of  silver,  and  of  all  good  things ;  thou  hast 
nursed  me  and  nourished  me,  and  covered  me  with  glory  and 
honor.  But  I  have  in  no  way  shown  thee  my  gratitude.  Here 
is  somewhat  for  thee ;  take  it ! "  (520.  217-220). 

In  the  Mahabharata,  the  great  Sanskrit  epic.  King  Santanu  is 
said  to  have  walked  by  the  side  of  the  river  one  day,  where  "  he 
met  and  fell  in  love  with  a  beautiful  girl,  who  told  him  that  she 
was  the  river  Ganges,  and  could  only  marry  him  on  condition 
he  never  questioned  her  conduct.  To  this  he,  with  a  truly  royal 
gallantry,  agreed;  and  she  bore  him  several  children,  all  of  whom 
she  threw  into  the  river  as  soon  as  they  were  born.  At  last  she 
bore  him  a  boy,  Bhishma ;  and  her  husband  begged  her  to  spare 
his  life,  whereupon  she  instantly  changed  into  the  river  Ganges 
and  flowed  away  "  (258. 317).  Similar  folk-tales  are  to  be  met  with 
in  other  parts  of  the  world,  and  the  list  of  water-sprites  and  river- 
goddesses  is  almost  endless.  Greater  than  "  Mother  Volga,"  is 
"  Mother  Ganges,"  to  whom  countless  sacrifices  have  been  made. 

In  the  language  of  the  Caddo  Indians,  the  Mississippi  is  called 
hdhat  sdssin,  "  mother  of  rivers." 


The  ancient  Peruvians  had  their  "  Mother  Maize,"  Mama  Cora, 
which  they  worshipped  with  a  sort  of  harvest-home  having,  as 
Andrew  Lang  points  out,  something  in  common  with  the  chil- 
dren's last  sheaf,  in  the  north-country  (English  and  Scotch) 
"  kernaby,"  as  well  as  with  the  "  Demeter  of  the  threshing-floor," 
of  whom  Theocritus  speaks  (484.  18). 


Lore  of  Motherhood.  41 

An  interesting  legend  of  the  Indians  of  the  Pueblos  of  Arizona 
and  New  Mexico  is  recorded  by  Milller  (509.  60).  Ages  ago  there 
dwelt  on  the  green  plains  a  beautiful  woman,  who  refused  all 
wooers,  though  they  brought  many  precious  gifts.  It  came  to 
pass  that  the  land  was  sore  distressed  by  dearth  and  famine,  and 
when  the  people  appealed  to  the  woman  she  gave  them  maize  in 
plenty.  One  day,  she  lay  asleep  naked ;  a  rain-drop  falling  upon 
her  breast,  she  conceived  and  bore  a  son,  from  whom  are  de- 
scended the  people  who  built  the  "  Casas  Grandes."  Dr.  Fewkes 
cites  a  like  myth  of  the  Hopi  or  Tusayan  Indians  in  which  ap- 
pears kd-kyan-iciiq-ti,  "  the  spider  woman,"  a  character  possessing 
certain  attributes  of  the  Earth-Mother.  Speaking  of  certain 
ceremonies  in  which  Cd4i-ko,  the  corn-goddess,  figures,  he  calls 
attention  to  the  fact  that "  in  initiations  an  ear  of  corn  is  given  to 
the  novice  as  a  symbolic  representation  of  mother.  The  corn  is 
the  mother  of  all  initiated  persons  of  the  tribe  "  (389  (1894).  48). 

Mr.  Lummis  also  speaks  of  "  Mother  Com "  among  the  Pueblos 
Indians :  "  A  flawless  ear  of  pure  white  corn  (type  of  fertility  and 
motherhood)  is  decked  out  with  a  downy  mass  of  snow-white 
feathers,  and  hung  -with  ornaments  of  silver,  coral,  and  the 
precious  turquoise"  (302.  72). 

Concerning  the  Pawnee  Indians,  Mr.  Grinnell  tells  us  that 
after  the  separation  of  the  peoples,  the  boy  (medicine-man)  who 
was  with  the  few  who  still  remained  at  the  place  from  which  the 
others  had  departed,  going  their  different  ways,  found  in  the 
sacred  bundle  —  the  Shekinah  of  the  tribe  —  an  ear  of  corn.  To 
the  people  he  said :  "  We  are  to  live  by  this,  this  is  our  Mother." 
And  from  "Mother  Com"  the  Indians  learned  how  to  make 
bows  and  arrows.  When  these  Indians  separated  into  three  bands 
(according  to  the  legend),  the  boy  broke  off  the  nub  of  the  ear  and 
gave  it  to  the  Mandans,  the  big  end  he  gave  to  the  Pawnees,  and 
the  middle  to  the  Eees.  This  is  why,  at  the  present  time,  the 
Pawnees  have  the  best  and  largest  corn,  the  Rees  somewhat 
inferior,  and  the  Mandans  the  shortest  of  all — since  they  planted 
the  pieces  originally  given  them  (480  (1893).  125). 

The  old  Mexicans  had  in  Cinteotl  a  corn-goddess  and  deity  of 
fertility  in  whose  honour  even  human  sacrifices  were  made.  She 
was  looked  upon  as  "the  producer,"  especially  of  children,  and 
sometimes  represented  with  a  child  in  her  arms  (509.  491). 

42  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

In  India  there  is  a  regular  cult  of  the  holy  basil  {Ocymum  sanc- 
tum), or  Tulasi,  as  it  is  called,  which  appears  to  be  a  transformation 
of  the  goddess  Lakshmi.  It  may  be  gathered  for  pious  purposes 
only,  and  in  so  doing  the  following  prayer  is  offered :  "  Mother 
Tulasi,  be  thou  propitious.  If  I  gather  thee  with  care,  be  mer- 
ciful unto  me.  0  Tulasi,  mother  of  the  world,  I  beseech  thee." 
This  plant  is  worshipped  as  a  deity,  —  the  wife  of  Vishnu,  whom 
the  breaking  of  even  a  little  twig  grieves  and  torments,  —  and 
"  the  pious  Hindus  invoke  the  divine  herb  for  the  protection  of 
every  part  of  the  body,  for  life  and  for  death,  and  in  every  action 
of  life ;  but  above  all,  in  its  capacity  of  ensuring  children  to  those 
who  desire  to  have  them."  To  him  who  thoughtlessly  or  wilfully 
pulls  up  the  plant  "no  happiness,  no  health,  no  children."  The 
Tulasi  opens  the  gates  of  heaven ;  hence  on  the  breast  of  the  pious 
dead  is  placed  a  leaf  of  basil,  and  the  Hindu  "  who  has  religiously 
planted  and  cultivated  the  Tulasi,  obtains  the  privilege  of  ascend- 
ing to  the  palace  of  Vishnu,  surrounded  by  ten  millions  of  parents  " 
(448.  244). 

In  Denmark,  there  is  a  popular  belief  that  in  the  elder  (Sam- 
bucus)  there  lives  a  spirit  or  being  known  as  the  "  elder-mother  " 
Qiylde-moer),  or  "  elder- woman  "  (Jiilde-qvinde),  and  before  elder- 
branches  may  be  cut  this  petition  is  uttered:  "Elder-mother, 
elder-mother,  allow  me  to  cut  thy  branches."  In  Lower  Saxony 
the  peasant  repeats,  on  bended  knees,  with  hands  folded,  three 
times  the  words :  "  Lady  Elder,  give  me  some  of  thy  wood ;  then 
will  I  also  give  thee  some  of  mine,  when  it  grows  in  the  forest " 
(448.  318-320).  In  Huntingdonshire,  England,  the  belief  in  the 
"  elder-mother  "  is  found,  and  it  is  thought  dangerous  to  pluck  the 
flowers,  while  elder-wood,  in  a  room,  or  used  for  a  cradle,  is  apt  to 
work  evil  for  children.  In  some  parts  of  England,  it  is  believed 
that  boys  beaten  with  an  elder  stick  will  be  retarded  in  their 
growth ;  in  Sweden,  women  who  are  about  to  become  mothers  kiss 
the  elder.  In  Germany,  a  somewhat  similar  personification  of  the 
juniper,  "  Frau  Wachholder,"  exists.  And  here  we  come  into  touch 
with  the  dryads  and  forest-sprites  of  all  ages,  familiar  to  us  in  the 
myths  of  classic  antiquity  and  the  tales  of  the  nursery  (448.  396). 

In  a  Bengalese  tale,  the  hero,  on  coming  to  a  forest,  cries :  "  O 
mother  kacJiiri,  please  make  way  for  me,  or  else  I  die,"  and  the 
wood  opens  to  let  him  pass  through  (426.  250). 


Lore  of  Motherhood.  48 

Perhaps  the  best  and  sweetest  story  of  plant  mythology  under 
this  head  is  Hans  Christian  Andersen's  beautifid  tale  of  "The 
Elder-Tree  Mother,"  —  the  Dryad  whose  name  is  Eemembrance 
(393.  215). 

Mother-  Thumb. 

Our  word  thumb  signifies  literally  "  tliick  or  big  finger,"  and  the 
same  idea  occurs  in  other  languages.  With  not  a  few  primitive 
peoples  this  thought  takes  another  turn,  and,  as  in  the  speech  of 
the  Karankawas,  an  extinct  Indian  tribe  of  Texas,  "  the  biggest,  or 
thickest  finger  is  called  'father,  mother,  or  old ' "  (456.  68).  The  Creek 
Indians  of  the  Southeastern  United  States  term  the  "thumb" 
ingi  itchki,  "  the  hand  its  mother,"  and  a  like  meaning  attaches  to 
the  Chickasaw  ilbak-ishke,  Hichiti  ilb-iki,  while  the  Muskogees  call 
the  "thumb,"  the  "mother  of  fingers."  It  is  worthy  of  note,  that, 
in  the  Bakairi  language  of  Brazil,  the  thumb  is  called  "  father," 
and  the  little  finger,  "  child,"  or  "  little  one  "  (536.  406).  In  Samoa 
the  "  thumb  "  is  named  lima^natua,  "  forefather  of  the  hand,"  and 
the  "  first  finger  "  lima-tama,  "  child  of  the  hand."  In  the  Tshi 
language  of  Western  Africa  a  finger  is  known  as  ensah-tsia-abbah, 
"  little  child  of  the  hand,"  and  in  some  other  tongues  of  savage  or 
barbaric  peoples  "  fingers  "  are  simply  "  children  of  the  hand." 

Professor  Culin  in  his  notes  of  "  Palmistry  in  China  and  Japan," 
says:  "The  thumb,  called  in  Japanese,  oya^ubi,  'parent-finger,'  is 
for  parents.  The  little  finger,  called  in  Japanese,  ko-ubi,  '  child- 
finger,'  is  for  children;  the  index-finger  is  for  uncle,  aunt,  and 
elder  brother  and  elder  sister.  The  third  finger  is  for  younger 
brother  and  younger  sister  "  (423  a).  A  short  little  finger  indicates 
childlessness,  and  lines  on  the  palm  of  the  hand,  below  the  little 
finger,  children.  There  are  very  many  nursery -games  and  rhymes 
of  various  sorts  based  upon  the  hand  and  fingers,  and  in  not  a  few 
of  these  the  thumb  and  fingers  play  the  rdle  of  mother  and  children. 
Froebel  seized  upon  this  thought  to  teach  the  child  the  idea  of  the 
family.     His  verses  are  well-known :  — 

"  Das  ist  die  Groszmama, 
Das  ist  der  Groszpapa, 
Das  ist  der  Vater, 
Das  ist  die  Mutter, 
Das  isfs  kleine  Kindchen  ja ; 
Seht  die  ganze  Familie  da." 

44  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

"  Das  ist  die  Mutter  lieb  und  gut, 
Das  ist  der  Vater  mit  frohem  Muth ; 
Das  ist  der  Bruder  lang  und  grosz ; 
Das  ist  die  Schwester  mit  Piippchen  im  Schoosz; 
Und  dies  ist  das  Kindchen,  noch  klein  und  zart, 
Und  dies  die  Familie  von  guter  Art." 

Referring  to  Froebel's  games,  Elizabeth  Harrison  remarks  :  — 
"In  order  that  this  activity,  generally  first  noticed  in  the  nse 
of  the  hands,  might  be  trained  into  right  and  ennobling  habits, 
rather  than  be  allowed  to  degenerate  into  wrong  and  often  degrad- 
ing ones,  Froebel  arranged  his  charming  set  of  finger-games  for 
the  mother  to  teach  her  babe  while  he  is  yet  in  her  arms ;  thus 
establishing  the  right  activity  before  the  wrong  one  can  assert 
itself.     In  such  little  songs  as  the  following :  — 

'  This  is  the  mother,  good  and  dear ; 
This  the  father,  with  hearty  cheer ; 
This  is  the  brother,  stout  and  tall ; 
This  is  the  sister,  who  plays  with  her  doll ; 
And  this  is  the  baby,  the  pet  of  all. 
Behold  the  good  family,  great  and  small,' 

the  child  is  led  to  personify  his  fingers  and  to  regard  them  as  a 
small  but  united  family  over  which  he  has  control "  (257  a.  14). 

Miss  Wiltse,  who  devotes  a  chapter  of  her  little  volume  to 
"  Finger-songs  related  to  Family  Life  and  the  Imaginative  Faculty," 
says : — 

"  The  dawning  consciousness  of  the  child  so  turned  to  the  family 
relations  is  surely  better  than  the  old  nursery  method  of  playing 
'This  little  pig  went  to  market'  "  (384.  45). 

And  from  the  father  and  mother  the  step  to  God  is  easy. 

Dr.  Brewer  informs  us  that  in  the  Greek  and  Roman  Church 
the  Trinity  is  symbolized  by  the  thumb  and  first  two  fingers: 
"The  thumb,  being  strong,  represents  the  Father;  the  long,  or 
second  finger,  Jesus  Christ;  and  the  first  finger,  the  Holy  Ghost, 
which  proceedeth  from  the  Father  and  the  Son  "  (JDict.  of  Phrase 
and  Fable,  P.  299). 


The  "Motherhood  of  God"  is  an  expression  that  still  sounds 
somewhat  strangely  to  our  ears.     We  have  come  to  speak  readily 

Lore  of  Motherhood.  45 

enough  of  the  "Fatherhood  of  God"  and  the  "Brotherhood  of 
Man,"  but  only  a  still  small  voice  has  whispered  of  the  "  Mother- 
hood of.  God  "  and  the  "  Sisterhood  of  Woman."  Yet  there  have 
been  in  the  world,  as,  indeed,  there  are  now,  multitudes  to  whom 
the  idea  of  Heaven  without  a  mother  is  as  blank  as  that  of  the 
home  without  her  who  makes  it.  If  over  the  human  babe  bends 
the  human  mother  who  is  its  divinity,  — 

"The  infant  lies  in  blessed  ease 

Upon  his  mother's  breast ; 
No  storm,  no  dark,  the  baby  sees 

Invade  his  heaven  of  rest. 
He  nothing  knows  of  change  or  death  — 

Her  face  his  holy  skies ; 
The  air  he  breathes,  his  mother's  breath  — 

His  stars,  his  mother's  eyes,"  — 

80  over  the  infant-race  must  bend  the  All-Mother,  das  Exjoig- 
weibliche.  Perhaps  the  greatest  service  that  the  Roman  Catholic 
Church  has  rendered  to  mankind  is  the  prominence  given  in  its 
cult  of  the  Virgin  Mary  to  the  mother-side  of  Deity.  In  the 
race's  final  concept  of  God,  the  embodiment  of  all  that  is  pure  and 
holy,  there  must  svirely  be  some  overshadowing  of  a  mother's 
tender  love.  With  the  "  Father-Heart "  of  the  Almighty  must  be 
linked  the  "Mother-Soul."  To  some  extent,  at  least,  we  may 
expect  a  harking  back  to  the  standpoint  of  the  Buddhist  Kalmuck, 
whose  child  is  taught  to  pray :  "  O  God,  who  art  my  father  and 
my  mother." 

In  all  ages  and  over  the  whole  world  peoples  of  culture  less  than 
ours  have  had  their  "mother-gods,"  all  the  embodiments  of  mother- 
hood, the  joy  of  the  Magnificat,  the  sacrosanct  expression  of  the 
poet's  truth :  — 

"  Close  to  the  mysteries  of  God  art  thou, 
My  brooding  mother-heart," 

the  recognition  of  that  outlasting  secret  hope  and  love,  of  which 
the  Gospel  writer  told  in  the  simple  words:  "Now  there  stood 
by  the  cross  of  Jesus  his  mother,"  and  faith  in  which  was  strong 
in  the  Mesopotamians  of  old,  who  prayed  to  the  goddess  Istar, 
"  May  thy  heart  be  appeased  as  the  heart  of  a  mother  who  has 
borne  children."    The  world  is  at  its  best  when  the  last,  holiest 

46  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

appeal  is  ad  matrem.     Professor  0.  T.  Mason  has  eloquently  stated 
the  debt  of  the  world's  religions  to  motherhood  (112.  12)  :  — 

"The  mother-goddess  of  all  peoples,  culminating  in  the  apo- 
theosis of  the  Virgin  Mary,  is  an  idea  either  originated  by  women, 
or  devised  to  satisfy  their  spiritual  cravings.  So  we  may  go 
through  the  pantheons  of  all  peoples,  finding  counterparts  of 
Ehea,  mother-earth,  goddess  of  fertility ;  Hera,  queen  of  harvests, 
feeder  of  mankind;  Hestia,  goddess  of  the  hearth  and  home,  of 
families  and  states,  giving  life  and  warmth ;  Aphrodite,  the 
beautiful,  patron  of  romantic  love  and  personal  charms ;  Hera, 
sovereign  lady,  divine  caciquess,  embodiment  of  queenly  dignity ; 
Pallas  Athene,  ideal  image  of  that  central  inspiring  force  that  we 
learn  at  our  mother's  knee,  and  that  shone  in  eternal  splendour; 
Isis,  the  goddess  of  widowhood,  sending  forth  her  son  Horus,  to 
avenge  the  death  of  his  father,  Osiris ;  as  moon-goddess,  keeping 
alive  the  light  until  the  sun  rises  again  to  bless  the  world." 

The  AlIrMother. 

In  Polynesian  mythology  we  find,  dAvelling  in  the  lowest  depths 
of  Avaiki  (the  interior  of  the  universe),  the  "  Great  Mother,"  —  the 
originator  of  all  things,  Vari-ma-te-takere,  "the  very  beginning," 
—  and  her  pet  child,  Tu-metua,  "  Stick  by  the  parent,"  her  last 
offspring,  inseparable  from  her.  All  of  her  children  were  born 
of  pieces  of  flesh  which  she  plucked  off  her  own  body ;  the  first- 
born was  the  man-fish  Vatea,  "father  of  gods  and  men,"  whose 
one  eye  is  the  sun,  the  other  the  moon ;  the  fifth  child  was  Eaka, 
to  whom  his  mother  gave  the  winds  in  a  basket,  and  "  the  children 
of  Eaka  are  the  numerous  winds  and  storms  which  distress  man- 
kind. To  each  child  is  allotted  a  hole  at  the  edge  of  the  horizon, 
through  which  he  blows  at  pleasure."  In  the  songs  the  gods,  are 
termed  "  the  children  of  Vatea,"  and  the  ocean  is  sometimes  called 
"  the  sea  of  Vatea."  Mr.  Gill  tells  us  that  "  the  Great  Mother 
approximates  nearest  to  the  dignity  of  creator  " ;  and,  curiously 
enough,  the  word  Vari,  "  beginning,"  signifies,  on  the  island  of 
Rarotonga,  "mud,"  showing  that  "these  people  imagined  that 
once  the  world  was  a  '  chaos  of  mud,'  out  of  which  some  mighty 
unseen  agent,  whom  they  called  Vari,  evolved  the  present  order 
of  things"  (458.3,21). 

Lore  of  Motherhood.  47 

Another  "All-Mother"  is  she  of  whom  our  own  poets  have 
sung,  "  Nature,"  the  source  and  sustainer  of  all. 


"  So  ilbt  Natur  die  Mutterpflicht,"  sang  the  poet  Schiller,  and 
"  Mother  Nature  "  is  the  key -word  of  those  modern  poets  who,  in 
their  mystic  philosophy,  consciously  or  unconsciously,  revive  the 
old  mythologies.  With  primitive  peoples  the  being,  growing 
power  of  the  universe  was  easily  conceived  as  feminine  and  as 
motherly.  Nature  is  the  "  great  parent,"  the  "  gracious  mother," 
of  us  all.  In  "  Mother  Nature,"  woman,  the  creator  of  the  earliest 
arts  of  man,  is  recognized  and  personified,  and  in  a  wider  sense 
even  than  the  poet  dreamt  of :  "  One  touch  of  Nature  makes  the 
whole  world  kin." 

Pindar  declared  that  "gods  and  men  are  sons  of  the  same 
mother,"  and  with  many  savage  and  barbaric  tribes,  gods, 
men,  animals,  and  all  other  objects,  animate  and  inanimate,  are 
akin  (388.  210).  As  Professor  Eobertson  Smith  has  said :  "  The 
same  lack  of  any  sharp  distinction  between  the  nature  of  differ- 
ent kinds  of  visible  beings  appears  in  the  old  myths  in  which  all 
kinds  of  objects,  animate  and  inanimate,  organic  and  inorganic, 
appear  as  cognate  with  one  another,  with  men,  and  with  the 
gods  "  (535.  85).  Mr.  Hartland,  speaking  of  this  stage  of  thought, 
says :  "  Sun  and  moon,  the  wind  and  the  waters,  perform  all  the 
functions  of  living  beings ;  they  speak,  they  eat,  they  marry  and 
have  children"  (258.  26).  The  same  idea  is  brought  out  by  Coimt 
D'Alviella :  "  The  highest  point  of  development  that  polytheism 
could  reach,  is  found  in  the  conception  of  a  monarchy  or  divine 
family,  embracing  all  terrestrial  beings,  and  even  the  whole  uni- 
verse "  (388.  211).  Mr.  Frank  Gushing  attributes  like  beliefs  in 
the  kinship  of  all  existences  to  the  Zuiii  Indians  (388.  66),  and 
Mr.  im  Thurn  to  the  Indians  of  Guiana  (388.  99). 

This  feeling  of  kinship  to  all  that  is,  is  beautifully  expressed 
in  the  words  of  the  dying  Greek  Klepht :  "  Do  not  say  that  I  am 
dead,  but  say  that  I  am  married  in  the  sorrowful,  strange  coun- 
tries, that  I  have  taken  the  flat  stone  for  a  mother-in-law,  the  t-  jk 
black  earth  for  my  wife,  and  the  little  pebbles  for  brothers-in- 
law."     (Lady  Yerney,  Essays,  II.  39.) 

48  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

In  tlie  Trinity  of  Upper  Egypt  the  second  person  was  Mut, 
"  Mother  Nature."  the  others  being  Amun,  the  chief  god,  and  their 
son,  Khuns. 

Among  the  Slavs,  according  to  Mone,  Ziwa  is  a  nature-goddess, 
and  the  Wends  regard  her  as  "  many-breasted  Mother  Nature," 
the  producing  and  nourishing  power  of  the  earth.  Her  consort  is 
Zibog,  the  god  of  life  (125.  II.  23). 

Curiously  reminiscent  of  the  same  train  of  ideas  which  has 
given  to  the  moderson  of  Low  German  the  signification  of  "  bas- 
tard," is  our  own  equivalent  term  "natural  son." 

Poets  and  orators  have  not  failed  to  appeal  to  "  Mother  Nature  " 
and  to  sing  her  panegyrics,  but  there  is  perhaps  nothing  more 
sweet  and  noble  than  the  words  of  Elizabeth  Cady  Stanton: 
"  Nature,  like  a  loving  mother,  is  ever  trying  to  keep  land  and 
sea,  mountain  and  valley,  each  in  its  place,  to  hush  the  angry 
winds  and  waves,  balance  the  extremes  of  heat  and  cold,  of 
rain  and  drought,  that  peace,  harmony,  and  beauty  may  reign 
supreme,"  and  the  verses  of  Longfellow  :  — 

"  And  Nature,  the  old  nurse,  took 
The  child  upon  her  knee, 
Saying,  '  Here  is  a  story-book 
Thy  Father  has  written  for  thee. 

" '  Come  wander  with  me,'  she  said, 
'  Into  regions  yet  untrod  ; 
And  read  what  is  still  unpead, 
In  the  manuscripts  of  God.' 

"And  he  wandered  away  and  away 
With  Nature,  the  dear  old  nurse, 
Who  sang  to  him,  night  and  day, 
The  rhymes  of  the  universe. 

"And  whenever  the  way  seemed  long, 
Or  his  heart  began  to  fail, 
She  would  sing  a  more  wonderful  song, 
Or  tell  a  more  marvellous  tale." 

Through  the  long  centuries  Nature  has  been  the  mother,  nurse, 
and  teacher  of  man. 


Lore  of  Motherhood.  49 

Other  Mother-Goddesses. 

Ameng  other  "mother-goddesses"  of  ancient  Italy  we  find 
Maia  Mater,  Flora  Mater,  both  deities  of  growth  and  reproduc- 
tion; Lua  Mater,  "the  loosing  mother,"  a  goddess  of  death; 
Acca  Larentia,  the  mother  of  the  Lares  (Acca  perhaps  =  Atta,  a 
child-word  for  mother,  as  Lippert  suggests) ;  Mater  matiita, 
"mother  of  the  dawn,"  a  goddess  of  child-birth,  worshipped 
especially  by  married  women,  and  to  whom  there  was  erected  a 
temple  at  Caere. 

The  mother-goddesses  of  Germany  are  quite  numerous.  Among 
those  minor  ones  cited  by  Grimm  and  Simrock,  are :  Haulemutter, 
Mutter  HoUe,  the  Klagemlitter  or  Klagemuhmen,  Pudelmutter 
(a  name  applied  to  the  goddess  Berchta),  Etelmutter,  Kornmutter, 
Koggenmutter,  Mutterkorn,  and  the  interesting  Buschgroszmutter, 
"  bush  grandmother,"  as  the  "  Queen  of  the  Wood-Folk "  is 
called.  Here  the  mother-feeling  has  been  so  strong  as  to  grant 
to  even  the  devil  a  mother  and  a  grandmother,  who  figure  in 
many  proverbs  and  folk-locutions.  When  the  question  is  asked 
a  Mecklenburger,  concerning  a  social  gathering :  "  Who  was 
there  ?  "  he  may  answer :  "  The  devil  and  his  mother  (mom)  " ; 
when  a  whirlwind  occurs,  the  saying  is :  "  The  Devil  is  dancing 
with,  his  grandmother." 

In  China  the  position  of  woman  is  very  low,  and,  as  Mr. 
Douglas  points  out :  "  It  is  only  when  a  woman  becomes  a  mother 
that  she  receives  the  respect  which  is  by  right  due  to  her,  and 
then  the  inferiority  of  her  sex  disappears  before  the  requirements 
of  filial  love,  which  is  the  crown  and  glory  of  China  "  (434.  125). 

In  Chinese  cosmogony  and  mythology  motherhood  finds  recog- 
nition. Besides  the  great  Earth-Mother,  we  meet  with  Se-wang- 
moo,  the  "  Western  Royal  ^Mother,"  a  goddess  of  fairy-land,  and 
the  "  Mother  of  Lightning,"  thunder  being  considered  the  "  father 
and  teacher  of  all  living  beings."  Lieh-tze,  a  philosopher  of  the 
fifth  century  e.g.,  taught:  "My  body  is  not  my  own;  I  am 
merely  an  inhabitant  of  it  for  the  time  being,  and  shall  resign  it 
when  I  return  to  the  '  Abyss  Mother '  "  (434.  222,  225,  277). 

In  the  Flowery  Kingdom  there  is  also  a  sect  "  who  worship  the 
goddess  Pity,  in  the  form  of  a  woman  holding  a  child  in  her 

50  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

Among  the  deities  and  semi-deities  of  the  Andaman  Islanders 
are  chdn-a-Hewadi,  the  "mother  of  the  race,"  —  Mother  E-lewadi; 
chdn-a-erep,  chdn-a-chd-rid,  chdn-a-te'liu,  chdn-a  Ivmi,  chdn-a-jdra- 
ngud,  all  inventors  and  discoverers  of  foods  and  the  arts.  In 
the  religious  system  of  the  Andaman  Islanders,  Pa-luga-,  the 
Supreme  Being,  by  whom  were  created  "the  world  and  all  objects, 
animate  and  inanimate,  excepting  only  the  powers  of  evil,"  and 
of  whom  it  is  said,  "  though  his  appearance  is  like  fire,  yet  he  is 
(nowadays)  invisible,"  is  "  believed  to  live  in  a  large  stone  house 
in  the  sky  with  a  wife  whom  he  created  for  himself ;  she  is  green 
in  appearance,  and  has  two  names,  chdn-a-du-lola  (Mother  Fresh- 
water Shrimp)  and  chun-a-pd-lak-  (Mother  Eel) ;  by  her  he  has  a 
large  family,  all  except  the  eldest  being  girls ;  these  last,  known 
as  md-ro-win-  (sky-spirits  or  angels),  are  said  to  be  black  in 
appearance,  and,  with  their  mother,  amuse  themselves  from  time 
to  time  by  throwing  fish  and  prawns  into  the  streams  and  sea  for 
the  use  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  world  "  (498.  90).  With  these 
people  also  the  first  woman  was  chdn-a-5-leioadi  (Mother  E-lewadi), 
the  ancestress  of  the  present  race  of  natives.  She  was  drowned, 
while  canoeing,  and  "  became  a  small  crab  of  a  description  still 
named  after  her  e-lewadi "  (498.  96). 

Quite  frequently  we  find  that  primitive  peoples  have  ascribed 
the  origin  of  the  arts  or  of  the  good  things  of  life  to  women 
whom  they  have  canonized  as  saints  or  apotheosized  into  deities. 

We  may  close  our  consideration  of  motherhood  and  what  it  has 
given  the  world  with  the  apt  words  of  Zmigrodzki :  — 

"  The  history  of  the  civilization  (Kulturgeschichte)  of  our  race, 
is,  so  to  speak,  the  history  of  the  mother-ivjliience.  Our  ideas  of 
morality,  justice,  order,  all  these  are  simply  mother-ideas.  The 
mother  began  our  culture  in  that  epoch  in  which,  like  the  man, 
she  was  autodidactic.  In  the  epoch  of  the  Church  Fathers,  the 
highly  educated  mother  saved  our  civilization  and  gave  it  a  new 
turn,  and  only  the  highly  educated  mother  will  save  us  out  of  the 
moral  corruption  of  our  age.  Taken  individually  also,  we  can 
mark  the  ennobling,  elevating  influence  which  educated  mothers 
have  exercised  over  our  great  men.  Let  us  strive  as  much  as 
possible  to  have  highly  accomplished  mothers,  wives,  friends, 
and  then  the  wounds  which  we  receive  in  the  struggle  for  life 
will  not  bleed  as  they  do  now"  (174.  367). 

Lore  of  Motherhood.  51 

The  history  of  civilization  is  the  story  of  the  mother,  a  story 
that  stales  not  with  repetition.  Richter,  in  his  Levana,  makes 
eloquent  appeal :  — 

"Never,  never  has  one  forgotten  his  pure,  right-educating 
mother !  On  the  blue  mountains  of  our  dim  childhood,  towards 
which  we  ever  turn  and  look,  stand  the  mothers  who  marked  out 
for  us  from  thence  our  life ;  the  most  blessed  age  must  be  forgot- 
ten ere  we  can  forget  the  warmest  heart.  You  wish,  0  woman, 
to  be  ardently  loved,  and  forever,  even  till  death.  Be,  then,  the 
mothers  of  your  children." 

Tennyson  in  TTie  Foresters  uses  these  beautiful  words :  "  Every 
man  for  the  sake  of  the  great  blessed  Mother  in  heaven,  and  for 
the  love  of  his  own  little  mother  on  earth,  should  handle  all 
womankind  gently,  and  hold  them  in  all  honour."  Herein  lies 
the  whole  philosophy  of  life.  The  ancient  Germans  were  right, 
who,  as  Tacitus  tells  us,  saw  in  woman  sanctum  aliqxdd  et  provi- 
dum,  as  indeed  the  Modern  German  Weib  (cognate  with  our  icife) 
also  declares,  the  original  signification  of  the  word  being  ''the 
animated,  the  inspirited." 

The  Child's  Tribute  to  the  Father. 

If  the  paternal  cottage  still  shuts  us  in,  its  roof  still  screens  us;  and  with  a 
father,  we  have  as  yet  a  prophet,  priest,  and  king,  and  an  obedience  that  makes 
us  free.  —  Carlyle. 

To  you  your  father  should  be  as  a  god.  —  Shakespeare. 

Our  Father,  who  art  in  Heaven.  —  Jesus. 

Father  of  all !  in  every  age, 
In  every  clime  adored, 
By  saint,  by  savage,  and  by  sage, 
Jehovah,  Jove,  or  Lord.  —  Pope. 

Names  of  the  Father. 

Father,  like  mother,  is  a  very  old  word,  and  goes  back,  witli  the 
cognate  terms  in  Italic,  Hellenic,  Teittonic,  Celtic,  Slavonic,  and 
Indo-Aryan  speech,  to  the  primitive  Indo-European  language,  and, 
like  mother,  it  is  of  uncertain  etymology. 

An  English  preacher  of  the  twelfth  century  sought  to  derive 
the  word  from  the  Anglo-Saxon  fedan,  "to  feed,"  making  the 
"father"  to  be  the  "feeder"  or  "nourisher,"  and  some  more 
modern  attempts  at  explanation  are  hardly  better.  This  ety- 
mology, however  incorrect,  as  it  certainly  is,  in  English,  does  find 
analogies  in  the  tongues  of  primitive  peoples.  In  the  language 
of  the  Klamath  Indians,  of  Oregon,  the  word  for  "father"  is 
fshishap  (in  the  Modoc  dialect, p'tishap),  meaning  "feeder,  nour- 
isher,"  from  a  radical  tshi,  which  signifies  "to  give  somebody 
liquid  food  (as  milk,  water)."  Whether  there  is  any  real  connec- 
tion between  our  word  pap,  —  with  its  cognates  in  other  lan- 
guages,—  which  signifies  "food  for  infants,"  as  well  as  "teat, 
breast,"  and  the  child-word  papa,  "father,"  is  doubtful,  and  the 
same  may  be  said  of  the  attempt  to  find  a  relation  between  teat, 



Lore  of  Fatherhood.  53 

tit,  etc.,  and  the  widespread  child-words  for  "father,"  tat,  dad. 
Wedgewood  (Introd.  to  Dictionary),  however,  maintained  that: 
"  Words  formed  of  the  simplest  articulations,  ma  and  pa,  are  used 
to  designate  the  objects  in  which  the  infant  takes  the  earliest 
interest,  —  the  mother,  the  father,  the  mother's  breast,  the  act 
of  taking  or  sucking  food."  Tylor  also  points  out  how,  in  the 
language  of  children  of  to-day,  we  may  find  a  key  to  the  origin 
of  a  mass  of  words  for  *''  father,  mother,  grandmother,  aunt,  child, 
breast,  toy,  doll,"  etc.  From  the  limited  supply  of  material  at 
the  disposal  of  the  early  speakers  of  a  language,  we  can  readily 
understand  how  the  same  sound  had  to  serve  for  the  connotation 
of  different  ideas ;  this  is  why  "  mama  means  in  one  tongue 
mother,  in  another /a//^er,  in  a  third,  uncle;  dada  in  one  language 
father,  in  a  second  nurse,  in  another  breast;  tola  in  one  language 
father,  in  another  son,"  etc.  The  primitive  Indo-European  p4r, 
Skeat  takes  to  be  formed,  with  the  agent-suffix  tr,  from  the  radi- 
cal pd,  "to  protect,  to  guard,"  —  the  father  having  been  originally 
looked  upon  as  the  "  protector,"  or  "guarder."  Max  Milller,  who 
offers  the  same  derivation,  remarks:  "The  father,  as  begetter, 
was  called  in  Sanskrit  ganitdr,  as  protector  and  supporter  of  his 
posterity,  however,  pitdr.  For  this  reason,  in  the  Yeda  both 
names  together  are  used  in  order  to  give  the  complete  idea  of 
'father.'  In  like  manner,  mdtar,  'mother,'  is  joined  with  ganit, 
'  genetrix,'  and  this  shows  that  the  word  mdiar  must  have  soon 
lost  its  etymological  signification  and  come  to  be  a  term  of  re- 
spect and  caress.  With  the  oldest  Indo-Europeans,  mdtar  meant 
*  maker,'  from  md,  '  to  form.'  " 

Kluge,  however,  seems  to  reject  the  interpretation  "  protector, 
defender,"  and  to  see  in  the  word  a  derivative  from  the  "  nature- 
sound  "  pa.  So  also  Westermarck  (166.  86-94).  In  Gothic,  pre- 
sumably the  oldest  of  the  Teutonic  dialects,  the  most  common 
word  for  "  father  "  is  atta,  still  seen  in  the  name  of  the  far-famed 
leader  of  the  Hirns,  Attila,  i.e.  "  little  father,"  and  in  the  dtti  of 
modern  Swiss  dialects.  To  the  same  root  attach  themselves 
Sanskrit  atta,  "mother,  elder  sister";  Ossetic  ddda,  "little  father 
(Vaterchen) " ;  Greek  arro,  Latin  atta,  "father";  Old  Slavonic 
ot'Ki,  "little  father";  Old  Irish  aite,  "foster-father."  Atta  be- 
longs to  the  category  of  "  nature-words  "  or  "  nursery-words  "  of 
which  our  dad  {daddy  )  is  also  a  member. 

64  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

Another  member  is  the  widespread  papa,  pa.  Our  word  papa, 
Skeat  thinks,  is  borrowed,  through  the  French,  from  Latin  papa, 
found  as  a  Roman  cognomen.  This  goes  back  in  all  probability 
to  ancient  Greek,  for,  in  the  Odyssey  (vi.  57),  Nausicaa  addresses 
her  father  as  irainra  ^t'Ac,  "  dear  papa."  The  Papa  of  German  is 
also  borrowed  from  French,  and,  according  to  Kluge,  did  not 
secure  a  firm  place  in  the  language  until  comparatively  late  in 
the  eighteenth  century. 

In  some  of  the  Semitic  languages  the  word  for  "father"  signi- 
fies "  maker,"  and  the  same  thing  occurs  elsewhere  among  primi- 
tive people  (166.  91). 

As  with  "mother,"  so  with  "father";  in  many  languages  a 
man  (or  a  boy)  does  not  employ  the  same  term  as  a  woman  (or  a 
girl).  In  the  Haida,  Okanak-en,  and  Kootenay,  all  Indian  lan- 
guages of  British  Columbia,  the  words  used  by  males  and  by 
females  are,  respectively:  Jcun,  qat;  Im'u,  mistm;  tito,  so. 

In  many  languages  the  word  for  "  father,"  as  is  also  the  case 
with  "mother,"  is  different  when  the  parent  is  addressed  from 
that  used  when  he  is  spoken  of  or  referred  to.  In  the  Tsim- 
shian,  Kwakiutl,  Nootka,  Ntlakyapamuq,  four  Indian  languages 
of  British  Columbia,  the  words  for  "  father,"  when  addressed,  are 
respectively  d'bo,  dts,  no' we, pap,  and  for  "father"  in  other  cases, 
riEgud'at,  au'mp,  nuwe'k'so,  sJc'd'tsa.  Here,  again,  it  will  be 
noticed  that  the  words  used  in  address  seem  shorter  and  more 
primitive  in  character. 

In  the  Chinantec  language  of  Mexico,  fluh  signifies  at  the  same 
time  "  father  "  and  "  man."  In  Gothic  aba  means  both  "  father  " 
and  "husband"  (492.  33).  Here  belongs  also  perhaps  the  familiar 
"father"  with  which  the  New  England  housewife  was  wont  to 
address  her  husband. 

With  many  peoples  the  name  "father"  is  applied  to  others 
than  the  male  parent  of  the  child.  The  following  remarks  of 
McLennan,  regarding  the  Tamil  and  Telugu  of  India,  will  stand 
for  not  a  few  other  primitive  tribes :  "  All  the  brothers  of  a  father 
are  usually  called  fathers,  but,  in  strictness,  those  who  are  older 
than  the  father  are  called  great  fathers,  and  those  who  are  younger, 
little  fathers.  With  the  Puharies,  all  the  brothers  of  a  father  are 
equally  fathers  to  his  children."  In  Hawaii,  the  term  "male 
parent "  "  applied  equally  to  the  father,  to  the  uncles,  and  even 

liore  of  Fatherhood.  66 

to  distant  relations."  In  Japan,  the  paternal  uncle  is  called 
"  little  father "  and  the  maternal  uncle  "  second  little  father  " 
(100.  3S9,  391). 

A  lengthy  discussion  of  these  terms,  with  a  wealth  of  illustra- 
tion from  many  primitive  languages,  will  be  found  in  Wester- 
marck  (166,  S&-94). 


Of  the  Roman  family  it  has  been  said :  "  It  was  a  community 
comprising  men  and  things.  The  members  were  maintained  by 
adoption  as  well  as  by  consanguinity.  The  father  was  before  all 
things  the  chief,  the  general  administrator.  He  was  called  father 
even  when  he  had  no  son ;  paternity  was  a  question  of  law,  not 
one  of  persons.  The  heir  is  no  more  than  the  continuing  line 
of  the  deceased  person;  he  was  heir  in  spite  of  himself  for  the 
honour  of  the  defunct,  for  the  lares,  the  hearth,  the  manes,  and 
the  hereditary  sepulchre  "  (100.  423).  In  ancient  Rome  the  pater- 
familias and  the  patria  potestas  are  seen  in  their  extreme  types. 
Letourneau  remarks  further:  ''Absolute  master,  both  of  things 
and  of  people,  the  paterfamilias  had  the  right  to  kill  his  wife 
and  to  sell  his  sons.  Priest  and  king  in  turn,  it  was  he  who  rep- 
resented the  family  in  their  domestic  worship ;  and  when,  after 
his  death,  he  was  laid  by  the  side  of  his  ancestors  in  the  com- 
mon tomb,  he  was  deified,  and  helped  to  swell  the  number  of  the 
household  gods  "  (100.  433). 

Post  thus  defines  the  system  of  "  father-right " :  — 
"In  the  system  of  'father-right'  the  child  is  related  only  to 
the  father  and  to  the  persons  connected  with  him  through  the 
male  line,  but  not  with  his  mother  and  the  persons  connected 
with  him  through  the  female  line.  The  narrowest  group  organ- 
ized according  to  father-right  consists  of  the  father  and  his  chil- 
dren. The  mother,  for  the  most  part,  appears  in  the  condition 
of  a  slave  to  the  husband.  To  the  patriarchal  family  in  the 
wider  sense  belong  the  children  of  the  sons  of  the  father,  but  not 
the  children  of  his  daughters;  the  brothers  and  sisters  of  the 
same  father,  but  not  those  merely  related  to  the  same  mother ; 
the  children  of  the  brother  of  the  same  father,  but  not  the  chil- 
dren of  the  sisters  of  the  same  father,  etc.  "With  eveiy  wife 
the  relationship  ceases  every  time  "  (127.  I.  24). 

56  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

The  system  of  father-right  is  found  scattered  over  the  whole 
globe.  It  is  found  among  the  Indo-European  peoples  (Aryans 
of  Asia,  Germans,  Slavs,  Celts,  Komans),  the  Mongol-Tartar 
tribes,  Chinese,  Japanese,  and  some  of  the  Semitic  nations;  in 
northern  Africa  and  scattered  through  the  western  part  of  the 
continent,  among  the  Kaffirs  and  Hottentots ;  among  some  tribes 
in  Australia  and  Polynesia  and  the  two  Americas  (the  culture 

The  position  of  the  father  among  those  peoples  with  whom 
strict  mother-right  prevails  is  thus  sketched  by  Zmigrodski 
(174.206):  — 

"The  only  certain  thing  was  motherhood  and  the  maternal 
side  of  the  family,  —  mother,  daughter,  granddaughter,  that  was 
the  fixed  stem  continuing  with  certainty.  Father,  son,  grandson, 
were  only  the  leaves,  which  existed  only  until  the  autumnal  wind 
of  death  tore  them  away,  to  hurl  them  into  the  abyss  of  oblivion. 
In  that  epoch  no  one  said,  *  I  am  the  son  of  such  a  father  and  the 
grandson  of  such  a  grandfather,'  but  'I  am  the  son  of  such  a 
mother  and  the  grandson  of  such  a  grandmother.'  The  inheri- 
tance went  not  to  the  son  and  grandson,  but  to  the  daughter  and 
to  the  granddaughter,  and  the  sons  received  a  dowry  as  do  the 
daughters  in  our  society  of  to-day.  In  marriage  the  woman  did 
not  assume  the  name  of  the  man,  but  vice  versd.  The  husband  of 
a  woman,  although  the  fatter  of  her  children,  was  considered  not 
so  near  a  relative  of  them  as  the  wife's  brother,  their  uncle." 

Dr.  Brinton  says,  concerning  mother-right  among  the  Indians 
of  North  America  (412.  48)  :  — 

"  Her  children  looked  upon  her  as  their  parent,  but  esteemed 
their  father  as  no  relation  whatever.  An  unusually  kind  and 
intelligent  Kolosch  Indian  was  chided  by  a  missionary  for  allow- 
ing his  father  to  suffer  for  food.  '  Let  him  go  to  his  own  people,' 
replied  the  Kolosch,  '  they  should  look  after  him.'  He  did  not 
regard  a  man  as  in  any  way  related  or  bound  to  his  paternal 

In  a  certain  Polynesian  mythological  tale,  the  hero  is  a  young 
man,  "the  name  of  whose  father  had  never  been  told  by  his 
mother,"  and  this  has  many  modern  parallels  (115.  97).  On  the 
Gold  Coast  of  West  Africa  there  is  a  proverb,  "  Wise  is  the  son 
that  knows  his  own  father  "  (127. 1.  24),  a  saying  found  elsewhere 

Lore  of  Fatherhood.  bl 

in  the  world,  —  indeed,  we  have  it  also  in  English,  and  Shake- 
speare presents  but  another  view  of  it  when  he  tells  us :  "  It  is  a 
wise  father  that  knows  his  own  child." 

In  many  myths  and  folk-  and  fairy-tales  of  all  peoples  the  dis- 
covery by  the  child  of  its  parent  forms  the  climax,  or  at  least  one 
of  the  chief  features  of  the  plot ;  and  we  have  also  those  stories 
which  tell  how  parents  have  been  killed  unwittingly  by  their  own 
children,  or  children  have  been  slain  unawares  by  their  parents. 


In  his  interesting  study  of  "  Eoyalty  and  Divinity "  (75),  Dr. 
von  Held  has  pointed  out  many  resemblances  between  the  primi- 
tive concepts  *'  King  "  and  "  God."  Both,  it  would  seem,  stand 
in  close  connection  with  "  Father."  To  quote  from  Dr.  von  Held : 
"  Fathership  (Vaterschaft,  patriarcka),  lordship  (Herrentum),  and 
kingship  (Konigtum)  are,  therefore  (like  rex  and  ^amXevs),  ideas 
not  only  linguistically,  but,  to  even  a  greater  degree  really,  cog- 
nate, having  altogether  very  close  relationship  to  the  word  and 
idea  'God.'  Of  necessity  they  involve  the  existence  and  idea 
of  a  people,  and  therefore  are  related  not  only  to  the  world  of 
faith,  but  also  to  that  of  intellect  and  of  material  things." 

The  Emperor  of  China  is  the  "  father  and  mother  of  the  em- 
pire," his  millions  of  subjects  being  his  "children";  and  the 
ancient  Romans  had  no  nobler  title  for  their  emperor  than  pater 
patrice,  the  "  father  of  his  country,"  an  appellation  bestowed  in 
these  later  days  upon  the  immortal  first  President  of  the  United 

In  the  Yajnavalkya,  one  of  the  old  Sanskrit  law-books,  the  king 
is  bidden  to  be  "towards  servants  and  subjects  as  a  father"  (75. 
122),  and  even  Mirabeau  and  Gregoire,  in  the  first  months  of  the 
States-General,  termed  the  king  "  le  pere  de  tous  les  Franqais," 
while  Louis  XII.  and  Henry  IV.  of  France,  as  well  as  Christian 
III.  of  Denmark,  had  given  to  them  the  title  "  father  of  the  peo- 
ple." The  name  pater  patrice  was  not  borne  by  the  Csesars  alone, 
for  the  Eoman  Senate  conferred  the  title  upon  Cicero,  and  offered 
it  to  Marius,  who  refused  to  accept  it.  "  Father  of  his  Country  " 
was  the  appellation  of  Cosmo  de'  Medici,  and  the  Genoese  in- 
scribed the  same  title  upon  the  base  of  the  statue  erected  to 

68  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

Andrea  Doria.  One  of  tlie  later  Byzantine  Emperors,  Androni- 
cus  Palseologus,  even  went  so  far  as  to  assume  this  honoured  title. 
Nor  has  the  name  "  Father  of  the  People  "  been  confined  to  kings, 
for  it  has  been  given  also  to  Gabriel  du  Pineau,  a  French  lawyer 
of  the  seventeenth  century. 

The  "  divinity  that  doth  hedge  a  king  "  and  the  fatherhood  of 
the  sovereign  reach  their  acme  in  Peru,  where  the  Inca  was  king, 
father,  even  god,  and  the  halo  of  "  divine  right "  has  not  ceased 
even  yet  to  encircle  the  brows  of  the  absolute  monarchs  of  Europe 
and  the  East, 

Landesvater  (Vater  des  Volkes)  is  the  proudest  designation  of 
the  German  Kaiser.  "  Little  Father  "  is  alike  the  literal  mean- 
ing of  Attila,  the  name  of  the  far-famed  leader  of  the  "  Huns," 
in  the  dark  ages  of  Europe,  and  of  batyusJiJca,  the  affectionate 
term  by  which  the  peasant  of  Eussia  speaks  of  the  Czar. 

Nana,  "Grandfather,"  is  the  title  of  the  king  of  Ashanti  in 
Africa,  and  "  Sire  "  was  long  in  France  and  England  a  respectful 
form  of  address  to  the  monarch. 

Some  of  the  aboriginal  tribes  of  America  have  conferred  upon 
the  President  of  the  United  States  the  name  of  the  "  Great  Father 
at  Washington,"  the  "  Great  White  Father,"  and  "  Father  "  was 
a  term  they  were  wont  to  apply  to  governors,  generals,  and  other 
great  men  of  the  whites  with  whom  they  came  into  contact. 

The  father  as  head  of  the  family  is  the  basis  of  the  idea  of 
"  father-king."  This  is  seen  among  the  Matchlapis,  a  Kaffir  tribe, 
where  "  those  who  own  a  sufficient  number  of  cattle  to  maintain 
a  family  have  the  right  to  the  title  of  chief " ;  this  resembles 
the  institution  of  the  paterfamilias  in  ancient  Latium  (100.  459, 

Dr.  von  Held  thus  expresses  himself  upon  this  point:  "The 
first,  and  one  may  say  also  the  last,  naturally  necessary  society 
of  man  is  the  family  in  the  manifold  forms  out  of  which  it  has 
been  historically  developed.  Its  beginning  and  its  apex  are, 
under  given  culture-conditions,  the  man  who  founds  it,  the  father. 
What  first  brought  man  experientially  to  creation  as  a  work  of 
love  was  fatherhood.  This  view  is  not  altered  by  the  fact  that 
the  father,  in  order  to  preserve,  or,  what  is  the  same,  to  continue 
to  produce,  to  bring  up,  must  command,  force,  punish.  If  the 
family  depends  on  no  higher  right,  it  yet  appears  as  the  first 

Lore  of  Fatherhood.  59 

state,  and  then  the  father  appears  not  only  as  father,  but  also  as 
king"  (75.  119). 

The  occurrence  to-day  of  "  King "  as  a  surname  takes  us  back 
to  a  time  when  the  head  of  the  family  enjoyed  the  proud  title, 
which  the  Komans  conferred  upon  Caesar  Augustus,  Pater  et 
Princeps,  the  natural  development  from  Ovid's  virque  paterque 

The  Eomans  called  their  senators  j9af res,  and  we  now  speak  of 
the  "  city  fathers,"  aldermen,  eldermen,  in  older  English,  and  the 
"fathers"  of  many  a  primitive  people  are  its  rulers  and  legis- 
lators. The  term  "father"  we  apply  also  to  those  who  were 
monarchs  and  chiefs  in  realms  of  human  activity  other  than  that 
of  politics.  Following  in  the  footsteps  of  the  Latins,  who  spoke 
of  Zeno  as  Pater  stoicorum,  of  Herodotus  as  Pater  historice,  and 
even  of  the  host  of  an  inn  as  Pater  cence,  we  speak  of  "  father- 
ing" an  idea,  a  plot,  and  the  like,  and  denominate  "father," 
the  pioneer  scientists,  inventors,  sages,  poets,  chroniclers  of  the 

From  pater  the  Romans  derived  patrimonhim,  patrimony, "  what 
was  inherited  from  the  father,"  an  interesting  contrast  to  matri- 
monium ;  patronus,  "  patron,  defender,  master  of  slaves  " ;  patria 
(terra),  "  fatherland," — Ovid  uses  patema  terra,  and  Horace  speaks 
oi  paternum  flumen;  patricius,  "of  fatherly  dignity,  high-bom, 
patrician,"  etc.  Word  after  word  in  the  classic  tongues  speaks 
of  the  exalted  position  of  the  father,  and  many  of  these  have 
come  into  our  own  language  through  the  influence  of  the  peoples 
of  the  Mediterranean. 


Said  Henry  Ward  Beecher:  "Look  at  home,  father-priest, 
mother-priest;  your  church  is  a  hundred-fold  heavier  responsi- 
bility than  mine  can  be.  Your  priesthood  is  from  God's  own 
hands."  The  priesthood  of  the  father  is  widespread.  ^Mr.  Gomme 
tells  us :  "  Certainly  among  the  Hindus,  the  Greeks,  the  Romans, 
and,  so  late  down  as  Tacitus,  the  Germans,  the  house-father  was 
priest  and  judge  in  his  own  clan  "  (461. 104).  Max  Mtiller  speaks 
to  the  same  effect :  "  K  we  trace  religion  back  to  the  family,  the 
father  or  head  of  the  family  is  ipso  facto  the  priest.  When  fami- 
lies grew  into  clans,  and  clans  into  tribes  and  confederacies,  a 

60  The  Child  in  Folic -Thought 

necessity  would  arise  of  delegating  to  some  heads  of  families  tlie 
performance  of  duties  which,  from  having  been  the  spontaneous 
acts  of  individuals,  had  become  the  traditional  acts  of  families 
and  clans  "  (510. 183).  Africa,  Asia,  America,  furnish  us  abundant 
evidence  of  this.  Our  own  language  testifies  to  it  also.  We 
speak  of  the  "Fathers  of  the  Church,"  —  patres,  as  they  were 
called,  —  and  the  term  "  Father  "  is  applied  to  an  ecclesiastic  of 
the  Roman  Catholic  Church,  just  as  in  the  Romance  languages 
of  Europe  the  descendants  of  the  Latin  pater  (French  p^re, 
Spanish  padre,  Italian  padre,  etc.)  are  used  to  denote  the  same 
personage.  In  Russian  an  endearing  term  for  "  priest "  is  batyu- 
shka,  "  father  dear " ;  the  word  for  a  village-priest,  sometimes 
used  disrespectfully,  is  pop.  This  latter  name  is  identical  with 
the  title  of  the  head  of  the  great  Catholic  Church,  the  "  Holy 
Father,"  at  Rome,  viz.  papa,  signifying  literally  "  papa,  father," 
given  in  the  early  days  of  Latin  Christianity,  and  the  source  of 
our  word  Pope  and  its  cognates  in  the  various  tongues  of  modem 
Europe.  The  head  of  an  abbey  we  call  an  abbot,  a  name  coming, 
through  the  Church-Latin  abbas,  from  the  Syriac  abba,  "  father  " ; 
here  again  recurs  the  correlation  of  priest  and  father.  It  is 
interesting  to  note  that  both  the  words  papa  and  abba,  Avhich  we 
have  just  discussed,  and  which  are  of  such  importance  in  the 
history  of  religion,  are  child-words  for  "father,"  bearing  evidence 
of  the  lasting  influence  of  the  child  in  this  sphere  of  human 
activity.  Among  the  ancient  Romans  we  find  a  pater  patratus, 
whose  duty  it  was  to  ratify  treaties  with  the  proper  religious 
rites.  Dr.  von  Held  is  of  opinion  that,  "in  the  case  of  a  special 
priesthood,  it  is  not  so  much  the  character  of  its  members  as 
spiritual  fathers,  as  their  calling  of  servants  of  God,  of  servants 
of  a  Father-God,  which  causes  them  to  be  termed  fathers,  papas  " 
(75.  120). 


Shakespeare  has  aptly  said,  in  the  words  which  Theseus  ad- 
dresses to  the  fair  Hermia :  — 

"  To  you  your  father  should  be  as  a  god ; 
One  that  composed  your  beauties,  yea,  and  one 
To  whom  you  are  but  as  a  form  in  wax, 
By  him  imprinted,  and  within  his  power 
To  leave  the  figure  or  disfigure  it," 


Lore  of  Fatherhood.  61 

and  widespread  indeed,  in  the  childhood  of  the  race,  has  been  the 
belief  in  the  Fatherhood  of  God.  Concerning  the  first  parents  of 
human  kind  the  ancient  Hebrew  Scripture  declares :  "  And  God 
created  man  in  His  own  image,"  and  long  centuries  afterwards,  in 
his  memorable  oration  to  the  wise  men  of  Athens  upon  Mars' 
Hill,  the  Apostle  Paul  quoted  with  approval  the  words  of  the 
Greek  poet,  Cleanthes,  who  had  said :  '•  For  we  are  all  His  off- 
spring." Epictetus,  appealing  to  a  master  on  behalf  of  his  slaves, 
asked:  "Wilt  thou  not  remember  over  whom  thou  rulest,  that 
they  are  thy  relations,  thy  brethren  by  nature,  the  offspring  of 
Zeus?"  (388.210). 

At  the  battle  of  Kadshu,  Rameses  II.,  of  Egypt,  abandoned  by 
his  soldiers,  as  a  last  appeal,  exclaimed :  "  I  will  call  upon  thee, 
O  my  father  Amon!"  (388.  209). 

Many  prophets  and  preachers  have  there  been  who  taught  to 
men  the  doctrine  of  "  God,  the  Father,"  but  last  and  best  of  all 
was  the  *•'  Son  of  Man,"  the  Christ,  who  taught  his  disciples  the 
world-heard  prayer :  "  Our  Father,  who  art  in  Heaven,"  who  pro- 
claimed that  "in  my  Father's  house  are  many  mansions,"  and 
whose  words  in  the  agony  of  Gethsemane  were :  "  Abba,  Father, 
all  things  are  possible  unto  Thee;  remove  this  cup  from  me: 
howbeit  not  what  I  will,  but  what  Thou  w^t." 

Between  the  I3uddhist  Kalmucks,  with  whom  the  newly  married 
couple  reverently  utter  these  words :  "  I  incline  myseK  this  first 
time  to  my  Lord  God,  who  is  my  father  and  my  mother"  (518.  I. 
423),  and  the  deistic  philosophers  of  to-day  there  is  a  vast  gulf,  as 
there  is  also  between  the  idea  of  Deity  among  the  Cakchiquel 
Indians  of  Guatemala,  where  the  words  for  God  alom  and  achalam 
signify  respectively  "begetter  of  children,"  and  "begetter  of 
sons,"  and  the  modern  Christian  concept  of  God,  the  Father,  with 
His  only  begotten  Son,  the  Saviour  of  the  world. 

The  society  of  the  gods  of  human  creation  has  everywhere 
been  modelled  upon  that  of  man.  He  was  right  who  said  Olympus 
was  a  Greek  city  and  Zeus  a  Greek  father.  According  to  D'Al- 
viella :  "  The  highest  point  of  development  that  polytheism  could 
reach  is  found  in  the  conception  of  a  monarchy  or  divine  family, 
embracing  all  terrestrial  beings,  and  even  the  whole  universe. 
The  divine  monarch  or  father,  however,  might  still  be  no  more 
than  the  first  among  his  peers.     For  the  supreme  god  to  become 

62  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

the  Only  God,  he  must  rise  above  all  beings,  superhuman  as  well  as 
human,  not  only  in  his  power,  but  in  his  very  nature  "  (388.  211). 

Though  the  mythology  of  our  Teutonic  forefathers  knew  of  the 
"All-Father,"  —  the  holy  Odin,  —  it  is  from  those  children-loving 
people,  the  Hebrews,  that  our  Christian  conception  of  '*  God  the 
Father,"  with  some  modifications,  is  derived.  As  Professor  Rob- 
ertson Smith  has  pointed  out,  among  the  Semites  we  find  the  idea 
of  the  tribal  god  as  father  strongly  developed :  "  But  in  heathen 
religions  the  fatherhood  of  the  gods  is  a  physical  fatherhood. 
Among  the  Greeks,  for  example,  the  idea  that  the  gods  fashioned 
men  out  of  clay,  as  potters  fashion  images,  is  relatively  modern. 
The  older  conception  is  that  the  races  of  men  have  gods  for  their 
ancestors,  or  are  the  children  of  the  earth,  the  common  mother  of 
gods  and  men,  so  that  men  are  really  of  the  same  stock  or  kin  of 
the  gods.  That  the  same  conception  was  familiar  to  the  older 
Semites  appears  from  the  Bible.  Jeremiah  describes  idolaters  as 
saying  to  a  stock.  Thou  art  my  father ;  and  to  a  stone,  Thou  hast 
brought  me  forth.  In  the  ancient  poem.  Num.  xxi.  29,  the  Moa- 
bites  are  called  the  sons  and  daughters  of  Chemosh,  and,  at  a 
much  more  recent  date,  the  prophet  Malachi  calls  a  heathen 
woman,  <■  the  daughter  of  a  strange  god '  "  (535.  41^3). 

Professor  Smith  cites  also  the  evidence  furnished  by  genealogies 
and  personal  names :  "  The  father  of  Solomon's  ally,  Hiram,  King 
of  Tyre,  was  called  Ahihaal,  '  my  father  is  Baal ' ;  Ben-Hadad,  of 
Damascus,  is  '  the  son  of  the  god  Hadad ' ;  in  Aramaean  we  find 
names  like  Barlaha,  '  son  of  God,'  Barba'shmln,  '  son  of  the  Lord 
of  Heaven,'  Barate,  '  son  of  Ate,'  etc."  "We  have  also  that  pas- 
sage in  Genesis  which  tells  how  the  "  sons  of  God  saw  the  daugh- 
ters of  men  that  were  fair ;  and  they  took  them  wives  of  all  which 
they  chose"  (vi.  2),  while  an  echo  of  the  same  thought  dwells 
with  the  Polynesians,  who  term  illegitimate  children  tamarika  na 
te  Atua,  « children  of  the  gods "  (458.  121).  D'Alviella  further 
remarks :  "  Presently  these  family  relations  of  the  gods  were 
extended  till  they  embraced  the  whole  creation,  and  especially 
mankind.  The  confusion  between  the  terms  for  creating  and 
begetting,  which  still  maintained  itself  in  half-developed  lan- 
guages, must  have  led  to  a  spontaneous  fusion  of  the  ideas  of 
creator  and  father."  But  there  is  another  aspect  of  this  question. 
Of  the  Amazulu  Callaway  writes  :  "  Speaking  generally,  the  head 

Lore  of  Fatherhood.  63 

of  each  house  is  worshipped  by  the  children  of  that  house ;  for 
they  do  not  know  the  ancients  who  are  dead,  nor  their  laud-giving 
names,  nor  their  names.  But  their  father  whom  they  knew  is  the 
head  by  whom  they  begin  and  end  in  their  prayer,  for  they  know 
him  best,  and  his  love  for  his  children ;  they  remember  his  kind- 
ness to  them  whilst  he  was  living ;  they  compare  his  treatment  of 
them  whilst  he  was  living,  support  themselves  by  it,  and  say, 
*  He  will  treat  us  in  the  same  way  now  he  is  dead-  We  do  not 
know  why  he  should  regard  others  beside  us ;  he  will  regard  us 
only.' "  Of  these  people  it  is  true,  as  they  themselves  say :  "  Our 
father  is  a  great  treasure  to  us,  even  when  he  is  dead  "  (417. 144). 

Here  we  pass  over  to  ancestor  worship,  seen  at  its  height  in 
China,  whose  great  sage,  Confucius,  taught :  "  The  great  object  of 
marriage  is  to  beget  children,  and  especially  sons,  who  may  perform 
the  required  sacrifices  at  the  tombs  of  their  parents  "  (434.  126). 

In  this  connection,  the  following  passage  from  Max  Mtiller  is 
of  interest :  "  How  religious  ideas  could  spring  from  the  percep- 
tion of  something  infinite  or  immortal  in  our  parents,  grand- 
parents, and  ancestors,  we  can  see  even  at  the  present  day. 
Among  the  Zulus,  for  instance,  Unkulunkulu  or  Ukxdukulu,  which 
means  the  great-great-grandfather,  has  become  the  name  of  God. 
It  is  true  that  each  family  has  its  own  Urikulunkulu,  and  that  his 
name  varies  accordingly.  But  there  is  also  an  Unkulunkulu  of  all 
men  {unkulunkulu  icabantu  bonke),  and  he  comes  very  near  to  being 
a  father  of  all  men.  Here  also  we  can  watch  a  very  natural  pro- 
cess of  reasoning.  A  son  would  look  upon  his  father  as  his  progen- 
itor ;  he  would  remember  his  father's  father,  possibly  his  father's 
grandfather.  But  beyond  that  his  own  experience  could  hardly 
go,  and  therefore  the  father  of  his  own  great-grandfather,  of 
whom  he  might  have  heard,  but  whom  he  had  never  seen,  would 
naturally  assume  the  character  of  a  distant  unknown  being ;  and, 
if  the  human  mind  ascended  still  further,  it  would  almost  by 
necessity  be  driven  to  a  father  of  all  fathers,  that  is  to  a  creator 
of  mankind,  if  not  of  the  world  "  (510.  156). 

Again  we  reach  the  "  Father  "  of  Pope's  "  Universal  Prayer  "  — 

"  Father  of  all !  in  every  age, 
In  every  clime  adored. 
By  saint,  by  savage,  and  by  sage, 
Jehovah,  Jove,  or  Lord," 

64  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

having  started  from  the  same  thought  as  the  Hebrews  in  the 
infancy  of  their  race.  An  Eastern  legend  of  the  child  Abraham 
has  crystallized  the  idea.  It  is  said  that  one  morning,  while  with 
his  mother  in  the  cave  in  which  they  were  hiding  from  Nimrod, 
he  asked  his  mother,  "  Who  is  my  God  ? "  and  she  replied, 
"It  is  I."  "And  who  is  thy  God?"  he  inquired  farther.  "Thy 
father"  (547. 69).  Hence  also  we  derive  the  declaration  of  Du Vair, 
"  Nous  devons  tenir  nos  peres  comme  des  dieux  en  terre,"  and  the 
statement  of  another  French  writer,  of  whom  Westermarck  says : 
"Bodin  wrote,  in  the  later  part  of  the  sixteenth  century,  that, 
though  the  monarch  commands  his  subjects,  the  master  his  dis- 
ciples, the  captain  his  soldiers,  there  is  none  to  whom  nature  has 
given  any  command  except  the  father, '  who  is  the  true  image  of  the 
great  sovereign  God,  universal  father  of  all  things '  "  (166.  238). 


"  Sweet  day,  so  cool,  so  calm,  so  bright, 
The  bridal  of  the  earth  and  sky," 

sang  the  poet  Herbert,  unconsciously  renewing  an  ancient  myth. 
As  many  cosmologies  tell.  Day  and  Dawn  were  born  of  the  em- 
braces of  Earth  and  Sky.  Ushas,  Eos,  Aurora,  is  the  daughter  of 
heaven,  and  one  story  of  the  birth  is  contained  in  the  Maori  myth 
of  Papa  and  Eangi.  Ushas,  Max  Milller  tells  us,  "  has  two  par- 
ents, heaven  and  earth,  whose  lap  she  fills  with  light"  (510.  431). 
From  Eangi,  "  Father-Sky,"  and  Papa,  "  Mother-Earth,"  say  the 
Maoris  of  New  Zealand,  sprang  all  living  things;  and,  in  like 
manner,  the  Chinese  consider  the  Sky  or  Heaven,  —  Yang,  the 
masculine,  procreative,  active  element,  —  to  be  the  "  father  of  all 
things,"  while  the  Earth, — Yu,  the  feminine,  conceiving,  passive 
element,  —  is  the  "  mother  of  all  things."  From  the  union  of 
these  two  everything  in  existence  has  arisen,  and  consequently 
resembles  the  one  or  the  other  (529.  107). 

Among  the  primitive  Aryans,  the  Sky,  or  Heaven  God,  was 
called  "  Father,"  as  shown  by  the  Sanskrit  Dyaus  Pitdr,  Greek 
Zeu's  Trarrjp,  Latin  Jupiter,  all  of  which  names  signify  "  sky  father." 
Dyaus  is  also  called  janitdr,  "  producer,  father,"  and  Zeus,  the 
"  eternal  father  of  men,"  the  "  father  of  gods  and  men,  the 
ruler  and  preserver  of  the  world."     In  the  Vedic  hymns  are  invo- 

Lore  of  Fatherhood.  65 

cations  of  Dyaus  (Sky),  as  "  our  Father,"  and  of  Pritliivi  (Earth), 
as  "our  Mother"  (388.  210). 

Dyaus  symbolizes  the  "bright  sky";  from  the  same  primitive 
Indo-European  root  come  the  Latin  words  dies  (day),  deus  or 
divus  (god);  the  dark  sombre  vault  of  heaven  is  Varuna,  the 
Greek  Ovpavo^,  Latin  Uranus. 

Other  instances  of  the  bridal  of  earth  and  sky,  —  of  "  mother 
earth,"  and  "father  sky,"  —  are  found  among  the  tribes  of  the 
Baltic,  the  Lapps,  the  Finns  (who  have  Ukko,  "'  Father  Heaven," 
Akka,  "  Mother  Earth  "),  and  other  more  barbaric  peoples. 

In  Ashanti,  the  new  deity,  which  the  introduction  of  Christian- 
ity has  added  to  the  native  pantheon,  is  called  Naiw,  Nyankupon, 
"  Grandfather-sky  "  (438.  24). 

The  shaman  of  the  Buryats  of  Alarsk  prays  to  "Father 
Heaven  " ;  in  the  Altai  Mountains  the  prayer  is  to 

"Father  Yulgen,  thrice  exalted, 
Whom  the  edge  of  the  moon's  axe  shuns, 
"Who  uses  the  hoof  of  the  horse. 
Thou,  Yulgen,  hast  created  all  men, 
"Who  are  stirring  round  about  us, 
Thou,  Yulgen,  hast  endowed  us  with  all  cattle ; 
Let  us  not  fall  into  sorrow  ! 
Grant  that  we  may  resist  the  evil  one ! "  (504.  70,  77). 

We  too  have  recollections  of  that  "  Father-Sky,"  whom  our  far- 
off  ancestors  adored,  the  bright,  glad,  cheerful  sky,  the  "  ancestor 
of  all."  Max  Miiller  has  summed  up  the  facts  of  our  inheritance 
in  brief  terms :  — 

"  Eemember  that  this  Dyaush  Pitar  is  the  same  as  the  Greek 
Zivs  Uarrjp,  and  the  Latin  Jupiter,  and  you  will  see  how  this  one 
word  shows  us  the  easy,  the  natural,  the  almost  inevitable  transi- 
tion from  the  conception  of  the  active  sky  as  a  purely  physical 
fact,  to  the  Father-Sky  with  ail  his  mythological  accidents,  and 
lastly  to  that  Father  in  heaven  whom  ^schylus  meant  when  he 
burst  out  in  his  majestic  prayer  to  Zeus,  whosoever  he  is"  (510. 

Unnumbered  centuries  have  passed,  but  the  "witchery  of  the 
soft  blue  sky  "  has  still  firm  hold  upon  the  race,  and  we  are,  as  of 
old,  children  of  "  otir  Father,  who  art  in  Heaven." 

66  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 


Montesinos  tells  us  that  Viracoclia,  "  sear-foam,"  the  Peruvian 
god  of  the  sea,  was  regarded  as  the  source  of  all  life  and  the  ori- 
gin of  all  things,  —  world-tiller,  world-animator,  he  was  called 
(509.  316).  Xenophanes  of  Kolophon,  a  Greek  philosopher  of  the 
sixth  century  B.C.,  taught  that  "the  mighty  sea  is  the  father  of 
clouds  and  winds  and  rivers."  In  Greek  mythology  Oceanus  is 
said  to  be  the  father  of  the  principal  rivers  of  earth.  Neptune, 
the  god  of  the  sea,  —  "Father  Neptune,"  he  is  sometimes  called, 
—  had  his  analogue  in  a  deity  whom  the  Libyans  looked  upon  as 
"  the  first  and  greatest  of  the  gods."  To  Neptune,  as  the  "Father 
of  Streams,"  the  Romans  erected  a  temple  in  the  Campus  Martins 
and  held  games  and  feasts  in  his  honour.  The  sea  was  also  spoken 
of  as  jsrtfer  ceqiioreus. 


The  name  "  Father  of  Waters  "  is  assigned,  incorrectly  perhaps, 
to  certain  American  Indian  languages,  as  an  appellation  of  the 
Mississippi,     From  Macaiday's  "  Lay  of  Horatius,"  we  all  know 

"0  Tiber,  Father  Tiber, 
To  whom  the  Romans  pray," 

and  "  Father  Thames  "  is  a  favourite  epithet  of  the  great  English 


In  our  English  nursery-lore  the  frost  is  personified  as  a  mis- 
chievous boy,  "Jack  Frost,"  to  whose  pranks  its  vagaries  are 
due.  In  old  Norse  mythology  we  read  of  the  terrible  "Frost 
Giants,"  offspring  of  Ymir,  born  of  the  ice  of  Niflheim,  which 
the  warmth  exhaled  from  the  sun-lit  land  of  Muspelheim  caused 
to  drop  off  into  the  great  Ginnunga-gap,  the  void  that  once  was 
where  earth  is  now.  In  his  "Frost  Spirit"  Whittier  has  pre- 
served something  of  the  ancient  grimness. 

We  speak  commonly  of  the  "Frost-King,"  whose  fetters  bind 
the  earth  in  winter. 

In  Russia  the  frost  is  called  "  Father  Frost,"  and  is  personified 
as  a  white  old  man,  or  "  a  mighty  smith  who  forges  strong  chains 

Lore  of  Fatherhood.  67 

with  which  to  bind  the  earth  and  the  waters,"  and  on  Christmas 
Eve  "  the  oldest  man  in  each  family  takes  a  spoonful  of  kissel  (a 
sort  of  pudding),  and  then,  having  put  his  head  through  the  win- 
dow, cries:  'Frost,  Frost,  come  and  eat  kissel!  Frost,  Frost, 
do  not  kill  our  oats!  Drive  our  flax  and  hemp  deep  into  the 
ground'"  (520.  223-230). 

Quite  different  is  the  idea  contained  in  Grimm's  tale  of  "  Old 
Mother  Frost,"  —  the  old  woman,  the  shaking  of  whose  bed  in 
the  making  causes  the  feathers  to  fly,  and  "then  it  snows  on 


Fire  has  received  worship  and  apotheosis  in  many  parts  of  the 
globe.  The  Muskogee  Indians  of  the  southeastern  United  States 
"  gave  to  fire  the  highest  Indian  title  of  honour,  grandfather,  and 
their  priests  were  called  '  fire-makers ' "  (529.  68).  The  ancient 
Aztecs  called  the  god  of  fire  "the  oldest  of  the  gods,  Huehueteotl, 
and  also  'our  Father,'  Tata,  as  it  was  believed  that  from  him  all 
things  were  derived."  He  was  supposed  "  to  govern  the  genera- 
tive proclivities  and  the  sexual  relations,"  and  he  was  sometimes 
called  Xiuhtecutli,  " '  God  of  the  Green  Leaf,'  that  is,  of  vegetable 
fecundity  and  productiveness."  He  was  worshipped  as  "  the  life- 
giver,  the  active  generator  of  animate  existence,"  —  the  "  primal 
element  and  the  immediate  source  of  life"  (413).  These  old 
Americans  were  in  accord  with  the  philosopher,  Heraclitus  of 
Ephesus,  who  held  that  "fire  is  the  element,  and  all  things  were 
produced  in  exchange  for  fire  " ;  and  Heraclitus,  in  the  fragments 
in  which  he  speaks  of  "  God,"  the  "  one  wise,"  that  which  "  knows 
all  things,"  means  "  Fire."  In  the  rites  of  the  Nagualists  occurs 
a  "baptism  by  fire,"  which  was  "celebrated  on  the  fourth  day 
after  the  birth  of  the  child,  during  which  time  it  was  deemed 
essential  to  keep  the  fire  burning  in  the  house,  but  not  to  permit 
any  of  it  to  be  carried  out,  as  that  would  bring  bad  luck  to  the 
child,"  and,  in  the  work  of  one  of  the  Spanish  priests,  a  protest 
is  made :  "  Nor  must  the  lying-in  women  and  their  assistants  be 
permitted  to  speak  of  Fire  as  the  father  and  mother  of  all  things, 
and  the  author  of  nature ;  because  it  is  a  common  saying  with 
them  that  Fire  is  present  at  the  birth  and  death  of  every  creat- 
ure."   It  appears  also  that  the  Indians  who  followed  this  strange 

68  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

cult  were  wont  to  speak  of  "  what  the  Fire  said  and  how  the  Fire 
wept"  (413.45-46). 

Among  various  other  peoples,  fire  is  regarded  as  auspicious  to 
children ;  its  sacred  character  is  widely  recognized.  In  the  Zend- 
Avesta,  the  Bible  of  the  ancient  Persians,  whose  religion  survives 
in  the  cult  of  the  Parsees,  now  chiefly  resident  in  Bombay  and  its 
environs,  we  read  of  Ahura-Mazda,  the  "  Wise  Lord,"  the  "  Father 
of  the  pure  world,"  the  "  best  thing  of  all,  the  source  of  light  for 
the  world."  Purest  and  most  sacred  of  all  created  things  was  fire, 
light  (421.  32),  In  the  Sar  Dar,  one  of  the  Parsee  sacred  books, 
the  people  are  bidden  to  "  keep  a  continual  fire  in  the  house  dur- 
ing a  woman's  pregnancy,  and,  after  the  child  is  born,  to  burn 
a  lamp  [or,  better,  a  fire]  for  three  nights  and  days,  so  that  the 
demons  and  fiends  may  not  be  able  to  do  any  damage  and  harm." 
It  is  said  that  when  Zoroaster,  the  founder  of  the  ancient  religion 
of  Persia,  was  born,  "  a  demon  came  at  the  head  of  a  hundred  and 
fifty  other  demons,  every  night  for  three  nights,  to  slay  him,  but 
they  were  put  to  flight  by  seeing  the  fire,  and  were  consequently 
unable  to  hurt  him"  (258.  96). 

In  ancient  Rome,  among  the  Lithuanians  on  the  shores  of  the 
Baltic,  in  Ireland,  in  England,  Denmark,  Germany,  "while  a 
child  remained  unbaptized,"  it  was,  or  is,  necessary  "to  burn 
a  light  in  the  chamber."  And  in  the  island  of  Lewis,  off  the 
northwestern  coast  of  Scotland,  "fire  used  to  be  carried  round 
women  before  they  were  churched,  and  children  before  they  were 
christened,  both  night  and  morning ;  and  this  was  held  effectual 
to  preserve  both  mother  and  infant  from  evil  spirits,  and  (in  the 
case  of  the  infant)  from  being  changed." 

In  the  Gypsy  mountain  villages  of  Upper  Hungary,  during  the 
baptism  of  a  child,  the  women  kindle  in  the  hut  a  little  fire,  over 
which  the  mother  with  the  baptized  infant  must  step,  in  order 
that  milk  may  not  fail  her  while  the  child  is  being  suckled 
(392.  11.  21). 

In  the  East  Indies,  the  mother  with  her  new-born  child  is  made 
to  pass  between  two  fires. 

Somewhat  similar  customs  are  known  to  have  existed  in 
northern  and  western  Europe ;  in  Ireland  and  Scotland  espe- 
cially, where  children  were  made  to  pass  through  or  leap  over 
the  fire. 

Lore  of  Fatherhood.  69 

To  Moloch  ("King"),  their  god  of  fire,  the  Phoenicians  used 
to  sacrifice  the  first-born  of  their  noblest  families.  A  later  devel- 
opment of  this  cult  seems  to  have  consisted  in  making  the  child 
pass  between  two  fires,  or  over  or  through  a  fire.  This  "  baptism 
of  fire  "  or  "  purification  by  fixe,"  was  in  practice  among  the  ancient 
Aztecs  of  Mexico.  To  the  second  water-baptism  was  added  the 
fire-baptism,  in  which  the  child  was  drawn  through  the  fire  four 
times  (509.  653). 

Among  the  Tarahumari  Indians  of  the  Mexican  Sierra  Madre, 
the  medicine-man  "cures"  the  infant,  "so  that  it  may  become 
strong  and  healthy,  and  live  a  long  life."  The  ceremony  is  thus 
described  by  Lumholtz:  "A  big  fire  of  corn-cobs,  or  of  the 
branches  of  the  mountain-cedar,  is  made  near  the  cross  [outside 
the  house],  and  the  baby  is  carried  over  the  smoke  three  times 
towards  each  cardinal-point,  and  also  three  times  backward.  The 
motion  is  first  toward  the  east,  then  toward  the  west,  then  south, 
then  north.  The  smoke  of  the  corn-cobs  assures  him  of  success 
in  agriculture.  With  a  fire-brand  the  medicine-man  makes  three 
crosses  on  the  child's  forehead,  if  it  is  a  boy,  and  four,  if  a  girl " 
(107.  298). 

Among  certain  South  American  tribes  the  child  and  the  mother 
are  "  smoked  "  with  tobacco  (326.  II.  194). 

With  marriage,  too,  fire  is  associated.  In  Yucatan,  at  the  be- 
trothal, the  priest  held  the  little  fingers  of  bridegroom  and  bride 
to  the  fire  (509.  504),  and  in  Germany,  the  maiden,  on  Christmas 
night,  looks  into  the  hearth-fire  to  discover  there  the  features  of 
her  future  husband  (392.  lY.  82).  Eademacher  (130  a)  has  called 
attention  to  the  great  importance  of  the  hearth  and  the  fireplace 
in  family  life.  In  the  Black  Forest  the  stove  is  invoked  in  these 
terms :  "  Dear  oven,  I  beseech  thee,  if  thou  hast  a  wife,  I  would 
have  a  man  "  (130  a.  60).  Among  the  White  Russians,  before  the 
wedding,  the  house  of  the  bridegroom  and  that  of  the  bride  are 
"  cleansed  from  evil  spirits,"  by  burning  a  heap  of  straw  in  the 
middle  of  the  living-room,  and  at  the  beginning  of  the  ceremo- 
nies, after  they  have  been  elevated  upon  a  cask,  as  "  Prince  "  and 
"  Princess,"  the  guests,  with  the  wedding  cake  and  two  tapers  in 
their  hands,  go  round  the  cask  three  times,  and  with  the  tapers 
held  crosswise  burn  them  a  little  on  the  neck,  the  forehead,  and 
the  temples,  so  that  the  hair  is  singed  away  somewhat.     At 

70  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

church  the  wax  tapers  are  of  importance:  if  they  burn  brightly 
and  clearly,  the  young  couple  will  have  a  happy,  merry  married 
life ;  if  feeble,  their  life  will  be  a  quiet  one  ;  if  they  flicker,  there 
will  be  strife  and  quarrels  between  them  (392  (1891).  161). 

Writing  of  Manabozho,  or  Michabo,  the  great  divinity  of  the 
Algonkian  tribes  of  the  Great  Lakes,  Dr.  D.  G.  Brinton  says : 
"  Michabo,  giver  of  life  and  light,  creator  and  preserver,  is  no 
apotheosis  of  a  prudent  chieftain,  still  less  the  fabrication  of  an 
idle  fancy,  or  a  designing  priestcraft,  but,  in  origin,  deeds,  and 
name,  the  not  unworthy  personification  of  the  purest  conceptions 
they  possessed  concerning  the  Father  of  All  "  (409.  469). 

To  Agni,  fire,  light,  "in  whom  are  all  the  gods,"  the  ancient 
Hindu  prayed:  "Be  unto  us  easy  of  access,  as  a  father  to  his 
son  "  (388.  210),  and  later  generations  of  men  have  seen  in  light 
the  embodiment  of  God.  As  Max  Miiller  says,  "We  ourselves 
also,  though  we  may  no  longer  use  the  name  of  Morning-Light 
for  the  Infinite,  the  Beyond,  the  Divine,  still  find  no  better  ex- 
pression than  Light  when  we  speak  of  the  manifestations  of  God, 
whether  in  nature  or  in  our  mind"  (510.  434). 

In  the  Christian  churches  of  to-day  hymns  of  praise  are  sung 
to  God  as  "  Father  of  Light  and  Life,"  and  their  neophytes  are 
bidden,  as  of  old,  to  "  walk  as  Children  of  Light." 


At  the  naming  of  the  new-born  infant  in  ancient  Mexico,  the 
mother  thus  addressed  the  Sun  and  the  Earth:  "Thou  Sun, 
Father  of  all  that  live,  and  thou  Earth,  our  Mother,  take  ye  this 
child,  and  guard  it  as  your  son."  A  common  affirmation  with 
them  was :  "  By  the  life  of  the  Sun,  and  of  our  Lady,  the  Earth  " 
(529.  97). 

Many  primitive  tribes  have  the  custom  of  holding  the  new- 
born child  up  to  the  sun. 

Not  a  few  races  and  peoples  have  called  themselves  "  children 
of  the  sun."  The  first  of  the  Incas  of  Peru  —  a  male  and  a 
female  —  were  children  of  the  Sun  "' our  Father,"  who,  "  seeing 
the  pitiable  condition  of  mankind,  was  moved  to  compassion,  and 
sent  to  them,  from  Heaven,  two  of  his  children,  a  son  and  a 
daughter,  to  teach  them  how  to  do  him  honour,  and  pay  him  divine 

Lore  of  Fatherhood.  71 

worship  " ;  they  were  also  instructed  by  the  sun  in  all  the  need- 
ful arts'  of  life,  which  they  taught  to  men  (529.  102).  "When  the 
"  children  of  the  Sun "  died,  they  were  said  to  be  *'  called  to  the 
home  of  the  Sun,  their  Father  "  (100.  479). 

The  Comanche  Indians,  who  worship  the  sun  with  dances  and 
other  rites,  call  him  taab-apa,  "Father  Sun,"  and  the  Sarcees 
speak  of  the  sun  as  "  Our  Father,"  and  of  the  earth  as  "  Our 
Mother  "  (412.  122,  72). 

With  the  Piute  Indians  "the  snn  is  the  father  and  ruler  of 
the  heavens.  He  is  the  big  chief.  The  moon  is  his  wife,  and  the 
stars  are  their  children.  The  sun  eats  his  children  whenever  he 
can  catch  them.  They  fall  before  him,  and  are  all  the  time 
afraid  when  he  is  passing  through  the  heavens.  When  he  (their 
father)  appears  in  the  morning,  you  see  all  the  stars,  his  chil- 
dren, fly  out  of  sight,  —  go  away  back  into  the  blue  of  the  above, 
—  and  they  do  not  wake  to  be  seen  again  until  he,  their  father, 
is  about  going  to  his  bed  "  (485.  I.  130). 

Dr.  Eastman  says  of  the  Sioux  Indians:  "The  sun  was  re- 
garded as  the  father,  and  the  earth  as  the  mother,  of  all  things 
that  live  and  grow;  but,  as  they  had  been  married  a  long  time 
and  had  become  the  parents  of  many  generations,  they  were 
called  the  great-grandparents  "  (518  (1894).  89). 

Widespread  over  the  earth  has  been,  and  still  is,  the  worship 
of  the  sun;  some  mythologists,  indeed,  would  go  too  far  and 
explain  almost  every  feature  of  savage  and  barbarous  religion  as 
a  sun-myth  or  as  smacking  of  heliolatry. 

Imagery  and  figurative  language  borrowed  from  the  considera- 
tion of  the  aspect  and  fvmctions  of  the  great  orb  of  day  have 
found  their  way  into  and  beautified  the  religious  thought  of  every 
modern  Christian  commimity.     The  words  of  the  poet  Thomson : 

"  Prime  cheerer  light ! 
Of  all  material  beings  first  and  best ! 
Efflux  divine  !    Nature's  resplendent  robe ! 
Without  whose  vesting  beauty  all  were  wrapt 
In  unessential  gloom  ;  and  thou,  O  Sun  ! 
Soul  of  surrounding  worlds  !  in  whom  best  seen 
Shines  out  thy  Maker ! " 

find  briefer  expression  in  the  simple  speech  of  the  dying  Turner : 
"The  sun  is  God." 

72  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 


Though  in  nearly  every  portion  of  the  globe  the  apotheosis  of 
earth  is  as  a  woman,  we  find  in  America  some  evidences  of  a 
cult  of  the  terrestrial  Father-God.  Concerning  the  cave-worship 
Of  the  Mexican  aborigines,  Dr.  Brinton  says  (413.  38,  50)  :  "  The 
intimate  meaning  of  this  cave-cult  was  the  worship  of  the  Earth. 
The  Cave-God,  the  Heart  of  the  Hills,  really  typified  the  Earth, 
the  Soil,  from  whose  dark  recesses  flow  the  limpid  streams  and 
spring  the  tender  shoots  of  the  food-plants  as  well  as  the  great 
trees.  To  the  native  Mexican  the  Earth  was  the  provider  of  food 
and  drink,  the  common  Father  of  All ;  so  that,  to  this  day,  when 
he  would  take  a  solemn  oath,  he  stoops  to  the  earth,  touches  it 
with  his  hand,  and  repeats  the  solemn  formula :  *  Cuix  amo  ne- 
chitla  in  toteotzin  ?    Does  not  our  Great  God  see  me  ?  ' " 

Father-  Wind. 

Dr.  Berendt,  when  travelling  through  the  forests  of  Yucatan, 
heard  his  Maya  Indian  guide  exclaim  in  awe-struck  tones,  as  the 
roar  of  a  tornado  made  itself  heard  in  the  distance :  He  catal 
nohoch  yikal  nohoch  tat,  "Here  comes  the  mighty  wind  of  the 
Great  Father."  As  Dr.  Brinton  points  out,  this  belief  has  ana- 
logues all  over  the  world,  in  the  notion  of  the  wind-bird,  the 
master  of  breath,  and  the  spirit,  who  is  father  of  all  the  race,  for 
we  learn  also  that  "the  whistling  of  the  wind  is  called,  or  at- 
tributed to,  tat  acmo,  words  which  mean  '  Father  Strong-Bird ' " 
(411.  175). 

The  cartography  of  the  Middle  Ages  and  the  epochs  of  the 
great  maritime  discoveries  has  made  us  familiar  with  the  wind- 
children,  offspring  of  the  wind-father,  from  whose  mouths  came 
the  breezes  and  the  storms,  and  old  Boreas,  of  whom  the  sailors 
sing,  has  traces  of  the  fatherhood  about  him.  More  than  one 
people  has  believed  that  God,  the  Father,  is  Spirit,  breath,  wind. 

Other  Father-Gods. 

The  ancient  Eomans  applied  the  term  Pater  to  many  of  their 
gods  beside  the  great  Jove.  Vulcan  was  called  Lemnus  Pater, 
the  "Lemnian   Father";    Bacchus,  Pater  Lenceus;   Janus,  the 

Lore  of  Fatherhood.  73 

"early  god  of  business,"  is  termed  by  Horace,  Matviinm  Pater, 
"  Early-morning  Father  "  ;  Mars  is  Mars  Pater,  etc.  The  Guarayo 
Indians,  of  South  America,  prayed  for  rain  and  bountiful  har- 
vests to  "Tamoi",  the  grandfather,  the  old  god  in  heaven,  who 
was  their  first  ancestor  and  had  taught  them  agriculture  "  (100. 

The  Abipones,  of  Paraguay,  called  the  Pleiades  their  "  Grand- 
father "  and  "  Creator."  When  the  constellation  was  invisible, 
they  said:  "Our  Grandfather,  Keebet,  is  ill"  (509.  274,  284). 

In  his  account  of  the  folk-lore  of  Yucatan,  Dr.  Brinton  tells  us 
that  the  giant-beings  known  as  Hhalamob,  or  balams,  are  some- 
times "  affectionately  referred  to  as  yum  balam,  or  '  Father  Balam.' " 
The  term  yum  is  practically  the  equivalent  of  the  Latin  pater,  and 
of  the  ''father,"  employed  by  many  primitive  peoples  in  address- 
ing, or  speaking  of,  their  great  male  divinities  (411.  176). 

In  his  acute  exposition  of  the  philosophy  of  the  Zuiii  Indians, 
Mr.  Gushing  tells  us  (424.  11)  that  "all  beings,  whether  deistic 
and  supernatural,  or  animistic  and  mortal,  are  regarded  as  belong- 
ing to  one  system;  and  that  they  are  likewise  believed  to  be 
related  by  blood  seems  to  be  indicated  by  the  fact  that  human 
beings  are  spoken  of  as  the  'children  of  men,'  while  aM  other 
beings  are  referred  to  as  *the  Fathers,'  the  'All-Fathers  (X-ta- 
tchu),'  and  'Our  Fathers.'"  The  "Priest  of  the  Bow,"  when 
travelling  alone  through  a  dangerous  country,  offers  up  a  prayer, 
which  begins:  "Si!  This  day.  My  Fathers,  ye  Animal  Beings, 
although  this  country  be  filled  with  enemies,  render  me  precious" 
(424.  41).  The  hunter,  in  the  ceremonial  of  the  "  Deer  Medi- 
cine," prays :  "  Si !  This  day,  My  Father,  thou  Game  Animal,  even 
though  thy  trail  one  day  and  one  night  hast  (been  made)  round 
about;  however,  grant  unto  me  one  step  of  my  earth-mother. 
Wanting  thy  life-blood,  wanting  that  flesh,  hence  I  address  to 
thee  good  fortune,  address  to  thee  treasure,"  etc.  When  he  has 
stricken  down  the  animal,  "  before  the  *  breath  of  life '  has  left 
the  fallen  deer  (if  it  be  such),  he  places  its  fore  feet  back  of  its 
horns,  and,  grasping  its  mouth,  holds  it  firmly,  closely,  while  he 
applies  his  lips  to  its  nostrils  and  breathes  as  much  wind  into 
them  as  possible,  again  inhaling  from  the  lungs  of  the  dying 
animal  into  his  own.  Then,  letting  go,  he  exclaims:  *Ah! 
Thanks,  my  father,  my  child.      Grant  tmto   me   the   seeds   of 

74  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

earth  ('daily  bread')  and  the  gift  of  water.  Grant  unto  me 
the  light  of  thy  favoxir,  do"  (424.  36). 

Something  of  a  like  nature,  perhaps,  attaches  to  the  bear- 
ceremonials  among  the  Ainu  and  other  primitive  peoples  of 
northeastern  Asia,  with  whom  that  animal  is  held  in  great 
respect  and  reverence,  approaching  to  deification. 

Of  P6-shai-an-k'ia,  "the  God  (Father)  of  the  Medicine  Socie- 
ties, or  sacred  esoteric  orders  of  the  Zunis,"  Mr.  Gushing  tells  us : 
"He  is  supposed  to  have  appeared  in  human  form,  poorly  clad, 
and  therefore  reviled  by  men;  to  have  taught  the  ancestors  of 
the  Zufii,  Taos,  Oraibi,  and  CoQonino  Indians  their  agricultural 
and  other  arts;  their  systems  of  worship  by  means  of  plumed 
and  painted  prayer-sticks ;  to  have  organized  their  medicine  so- 
cieties, and  then  to  have  disappeared  toward  his  home  in  Shi-pa- 
pu-li-ma  (from  shi-pa-a  =  mist,  vapour ;  u-liyi,  surrounding ;  and 
i-mo-na  =  sitting-place  of;  '  The  mist-enveloped  city'),  and  to  have 
vanished  beneath  the  world,  whence  he  is  said  to  have  departed 
for  the  home  of  the  Sun.  He  is  still  the  conscious  auditor  of  the 
prayers  of  his  children,  the  invisible  ruler  of  the  spiritual  Shi-pa- 
pu-li-ma,  and  of  the  lesser  gods  of  the  medicine  orders,  the  prin- 
cipal *  Finisher  of  the  Paths  of  our  Lives.'  He  is,  so  far  as  any 
identity  can  be  established,  the  'Montezuma'  of  popular  and 
usually  erroneous  Mexican  tradition"  (424.  16).  Both  on  the 
lowest  steps  of  civilization  and  on  the  highest,  we  meet  with  this 
passing  over  of  the  Father  into  the  Son,  this  participation  of  God 
in  the  affairs  and  struggles  of  men. 

The  Name  Child. 

liebe  Kinder  haben  viele  Namen 

[Dear  children  have  many  names].  —  German  Proverb. 

Child  or  boy,  my  darling,  which  you  will.  —  Swinburne. 

Men  ever  had,  and  ever  will  have,  leave 

To  coin  new  words  well-suited  to  the  age. 

Words  are  like  leaves,  some  wither  every  year, 

And  every  year  a  younger  race  succeeds.  —  Soscommon. 

Child  and  its  Synonyms. 

Our  -word  child  —  the  good  old  English  term ;  for  both  babe  and 
infant  are  borrowed  —  simply  means  the  "  product  of  the  womb  " 
(compare  Gothic  kilthei,  "  womb  ").  The  Lowland-Scotch  dialect 
still  preserves  an  old  word  for  "  child "  in  bairn,  cognate  with 
Anglo-Saxon  beam,  Icelandic,  Swedish,  Danish,  and  Gothic  bam 
(the  Gothic  had  a  diminutive  bamilo,  "  baby  "),  Sanskrit  bhama, 
which  signifies  "  the  borne  one,"  "  that  which  is  born,"  from  the 
primitive  Indo-European  root  bhr,"  to  bear,  to  carry  in  the  womb," 
whence  our  "  to  bear "  and  the  German  "  ge-bdren."  San,  which 
finds  its  cognates  in  all  the  principal  Aryan  dialects,  except 
Latin,  and  perhaps  Celtic,  —  the  Greek  rlos  is  for  axuo^,  and  is 
the  same  word,  —  a  widespread  term  for  "  male  child,  or  descend- 
ant," originally  meant,  as  the  Old  Irish  S2ith,  "  birth,  fruit,"  and 
the  Sanskrit  sit,  "  to  bear,  to  give  birth  to,"  indicate,  "  the  fruit 
of  the  womb,  the  begotten  "  —  an  expression  which  meets  us  time 
and  again  in  the  pages  of  the  Hebrew  Bible.  The  words  offspring, 
issue,  seed,  used  in  higher  diction,  explain  themselves  and  find 
analogues  all  over  the  world.  To  a  like  category  belong  Sanskrit 
gdrbha,  "brood  of  birds,  child,  shoot";  Pali  gabbha,  "womb,  em- 
bryo, child";  Old  High  German  c^j76urra," female  lamb";  Gothic 


76  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

Tcalhd,  "  female  lamb  one  year  old  " ;  German  Kalh  ;  English  calf; 
Greek  SeAe^vs, "  womb  " ;  whence  dSeXc^o's,  "  brother,"  literally  "  born 
of  the  same  womb."  Here  we  see,  in  the  words  for  their  young, 
the  idea  of  the  kinship  of  men  and  animals  in  which  the  primitive 
races  believed.  The  "  brought  forth  "  or  "  born  "  is  also  the  sig- 
nification of  the  Niskwalli  Indian  ba'-ba-ad,  "infant";  de-bad-da, 
"infant,  son";  Maya  al,  "son  or  daughter  of  a  woman" ;  Cakchi- 
quel  4ahol,  "  son,"  and  like  terms  in  many  other  tongues.  Both  the 
words  in  our  language  employed  to  denote  the  child  before  birth 
are  borrowed.  Embryo,  with  its  cognates  in  the  modern  tongues 
of  Europe,  comes  from  the  Greek  efx(3pvov,  "  the  fruit  of  the  womb 
before  delivery ;  birth ;  the  embryo,  foetus ;  a  lamb  newly  born,  a 
kid."  The  word  is  derived  from  iv,  "  within  " ;  and  (3pvw,  "  I  am 
full  of  anything,  I  swell  or  teem  with  " ;  in  a  transitive  sense,  "  I 
break  forth."  The  radical  idea  is  clearly  "swelling,"  and  cog- 
nates are  found  in  Greek  ftpvov,  "moss";  and  German  Kraut, 
"plant,  vegetable."  Foetus  comes  to  us  from  Latin,  where  it 
meant  "  a  bearing,  offspring,  fruit ;  bearing,  dropping,  hatching, 
—  of  animals,  plants,  etc.;  fruit,  produce,  offspring,  progeny, 
brood."  The  immediate  derivation  of  the  word  is  tromfeto,  "I 
breed,"  whence  also  effetus,  "  having  brought  forth  young,  worn 
out  by  bearing,  effete."  Fetd  itself  is  from  an  old  verla  feuere,  "  to 
generate,  to  produce,"  possibly  related  to  fui  and  our  be.  The  radi- 
cal signification  of  foetus  then  is  "that  which  is  bred,  or  brought 
to  be  " ;  and  from  the  same  root  fe  are  derived  feles,  "  cat "  (the 
fruitful  animal)  ;  fe-num,  "  hay  " ;  fe-cundus,  "  fertile  " ;  fe-lix, 
"happy"  (fruitful).  The  corresponding  verb  in  Greek  is  ^vetv, 
"  to  grow,  to  spring  forth,  to  come  into  being,"  whence  the  follow- 
ing: «^vo-i?,  " a  creature,  birth,  nature,"  —  nature  is  "all  that  has 
had  birth " ;  <^utoV,  "  something  grown,  plant,  tree,  creature, 
child" ;  cf}u\rj,  cf}lXov,  "race,  clan,  tribe,"  —  the  "  aggregate  of  those 
born  in  a  certain  way  or  place  " ;  «^v?,  "  son " ;  <fiv(ja<;,  "  father," 

In  English,  we  formerly  had  the  phrase  "  to  look  babies  in  the 
eyes,"  and  we  still  speak  of  the  pupil  of  the  eye,  the  old  folk- 
belief  having  been  able  to  assert  itself  in  the  every-day  speech  of 
the  race,  —  the  thought  that  the  soul  looked  out  of  the  windows 
of  the  eyes.  In  Latin,  pupilla  pupila,  "  girl,  pupil  of  the  eye," 
is  a  diminutive  of  pupa  (puppa),  "  girl,  damsel,  doll,  puppet " ; 

Words  for  Child.  77 

other  related  words  are  piipulus,  "  little  boy  '* ;  pupillus,  "  orphan, 
ward,"' our  pupil;  piipulus,  "little  child,  boy";  pupus,  "child, 
boy."  The  radical  of  all  these  is  pu,  "  to  beget " ;  whence  are 
derived  also  the  following :  puer,  "  child,  boy  " ;  pudla  (for  jnier- 
ula),  a  diminutive  of  puer,  "  girl " ;  pusus,  "  boy  " ;  pusio,  "  little 
boy,"  pusillus;  "a  very  little  boy";  piitus,  "boy";  putillus, 
"little  boy";  putilla,  "little  girl," — here  belongs  aXso pusillani- 
mus,  "  small-minded,  boy-minded  " ;  pubis,  "  ripe,  adult " ;  puher- 
tas,  "puberty,  maturity";  pullus,  "Sk  young  animal,  a  fowl," 
whence  our  pullet.  In  Greek  we  find  the  cognate  words  ttwXos, 
"a  young  animal,"  related  to  out  foal,  JUly ;  irwAtoV,  "pony,"  and, 
as  some,  perhaps  too  venturesome,  have  suggested,  irais,  "  child," 
with  its  numerous  derivatives  in  the  scientifical  nomenclature 
and  phraseology  of  to-day.  In  Sanskrit  we  have  putra,  "  son,"  a 
word  familiar  as  a  suffix  in  river-names,  —  Brahmaputra,  "  son  of 
Brahma,"  — pota,  "  the  young  of  an  animal,"  etc.  Skeat  thinks 
that  our  word  boy,  borrowed  from  Low  German  and  probably 
related  to  the  Modern  High  German  Bube,  whence  the  familiar 
"  bub  "  of  American  colloquial  speech,  is  cognate  with  Latin  piipus. 

To  this  stock  of  words  our  hdbe,  with  its  diminutive  baby, 
seems  not  akin.  Skeat,  rejecting  the  theory  that  it  is  a  redupli- 
cative child-word,  like  j)apa,  sees  in  it  merely  a  modification 
(infantine,  perhaps)  of  the  Celtic  niaban,  diminutive  of  mdb, 
"son,"  and  hence  related  to  maid,  the  particular  etymology 
of  which  is  discussed  elsewhere. 

Infant,  also,  is  a  loan-word  in  English.  In  Latin,  infans  was 
the  coinage  of  some  primitive  student  of  children,  of  some  pre- 
historic anthropologist,  who  had  a  clear  conception  of  •'  infancy  " 
as  "  the  period  of  inability  to  speak,"  —  for  infans  signifies  neither 
more  nor  less  than  "  not  speaking,  unable  to  speak."  The  word, 
like  our  "childish,"  assumed  also  the  meanings  "child,  young, 
fresh,  new,  silly,"  with  a  diminutive  infantulus.  The  Latin  word 
infans  has  its  representatives  in  French  and  other  Romance  lan- 
guages, and  has  given  rise  to  enfanter,  "  to  give  birth  to  a  child," 
enfantement,  "  labour,"  two  of  the  few  words  relating  to  child-birth 
in  which  the  child  is  directly  remembered.  The  history  of  the 
words  infantry,  "foot-soldiers,"  and  Infanta^  "a  princess  of  the 
blood  royal "  in  Spain  (even  though  she  be  married),  illustrates 
a  curious  development  of  thought. 

78  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

Our  word  daughter,  wliich  finds  cognates  in  Teutonic,  Sla- 
vonic, Armenian,  Zend,  Sanskrit,  and  Greek,  Skeat  would  derive 
from  the  root  dugh,  "  to  milk,"  the  "  daughter  "  being  primitively 
the  "milker,"  —  the  " milkmaid,"  —  which  would  remove  the  term 
from  the  list  of  names  for  "child"  in  the  proper  sense  of  the 
word.  Kluge,  however,  with  justice  perhaps,  considers  this 
etymology  improbable. 

A  familiar  phrase  in  English  is  "babes  and  sucklings,"  the 
last  term  of  which,  cognate  with  German  Saugling,  meets  with 
analogues  far  and  wide  among  the  peoples  of  the  earth.  The 
Latin  words  for  children  in  relation  to  their  parents  are  Jilius 
(diminutive Jiliolus)," son,"  andjilia  (diminutive ^/joZa),  "daugh- 
ter," which  have  a  long  list  of  descendants  in  the  modern  Neo- 
Latin  or  Romance  languages,  —  French  Jils,  Jille,  Jilleul,  etc. ; 
Italian  figlio,  figlia,  etc.  According  to  Skeat,  Jilius  signified 
originally  "  infant,"  perhaps  "  suckling,"  from  felare,  "  to  suck," 
the  radical  of  which,  fe  (Indo-European  dhe),  appears  also  in 
femina,  "  woman,"  and  femella,  "  female,"  the  "  sucklers "  par 
excellence.  In  Greek  the  cognate  words  are  tit^t;,  "nurse," 
OrjXvs,  "female,"  0-qXri,  "teat,"  etc.;  in  Lithuanian,  dels,  "son." 
With  nonagan,  "  teat,  breast,"  are  cognate  in  the  Delaware  Indian 
language  nonoshellaan,  "to  suckle,"  nonetschik,  "suckling,"  and 
other  primitive  tongues  have  similar  series. 

The  Modern  High  German  word  for  child  is  Kind,  which,  as 
a  substantive,  finds  representatives  neither  in  Gothic  nor  in  early 
English,  but  has  cognates  in  the  Old  Norse  kunde,  "  son,"  Gothic 
-kunds,  Anglo-Saxon  -kund,  a  sufiix  signifying  "coming  from, 
originating  from."  The  ultimate  radical  of  the  word  is  the  Indo- 
European  root  gen  (Teutonic  ken),  "  to  bear,  to  produce,"  whence 
have  proceeded  also  kin,  Gothic  kuni;  qxieen,  Gothic  qv^ns,  "wo- 
man " ;  king,  Modern  High  German  Konig,  originally  signifying 
perhaps  "  one  of  high  origin " ;  Greek  yEvo?  and  its  derivatives ; 
Latin  genus,  gens,  gigno  ;  Lithuanian  gentis,  "  relative  " ;  Sanskrit 
janas,  "kin,  stock,"  janus,  "creature,  kin,  birth,"  jantu,  "child, 
being,  stock,"  jdtd,  "  son."  Kind,  therefore,  while  not  the  same 
word  as  our  cJiild,  has  the  same  primitive  meaning,  "  the  produced 
one,"  and  finds  further  cognates  in  kid  and  colt,  names  applied 
to  the  young  of  certain  animals,  and  the  first  of  which,  in  the 
slang  of  to-day,  is  applied  to  children  also.     In  some  parts  of 

Words  for  Child.  79 

Germany  and  Switzerland  Kind  has  the  sense  of  boy;  in  Thurin- 
gia,  for  example,  people  speak  of  zicei  Kinder  und  ein  Mddchen, 
"  two  boys  and  a  girl."  From  the  same  radical  sprang  the  Mod- 
em High  German  Knabe,  Old  High  German  chnabo,  "  boy,  youth, 
young  fellow,  servant,"  and  its  cognates,  including  our  English 
Jcnave,  with  its  changed  meaning,  and  possibly  also  Grerman 
KnecM  and  English  knight,  of  somewhat  similar  import  originally. 
To  the  same  original  source  we  trace  back  Greek  yeverrjp,  Latin 
genitor,  "  parent,"  and  their  cognates,  in  all  of  which  the  idea  of 
genesis  is  prominent.  Here  belong,  in  Greek :  yevco-is,  "  origin, 
birth,  beginning  " ;  yvmq,  ''  woman  " ;  yevco,  "  family,  race  " ;  yetVo- 
fjuu,  '■'  I  beget,  produce,  bring  forth,  am  bom  " ;  ytyvo/xai,  "  I  come 
into  a  new  state  of  being,  become,  am  bom."  In  Latin:  gigno, 
"I  beget,  bring  forth";  gens,  "clan,  race,  nation,"  —  those  born 
in  a  certain  way ;  ingens,  "  vast,  huge,  great,"  — "  not  gens,"  i.e. 
"born  beyond  or  out  of  its  kind";  gentilis,  "belonging  to  the 
same  clan,  race,  tribe,  nation,"  then,  with  various  turns  of  mean- 
ing, "national,  foreign,"  whence  our  gentile,  genteel,  gentle,  gentry, 
etc.;  genus,  "birth,  race,  sort,  kind";  ingenium,  "innate  quality, 
natural  disposition  " ;  ingeniosus,  "  of  good  natural  abilities,  bom 
well-endowed,"  hence  ingenious;  ingenuus,  "native,  free-born, 
worthy  of  a  free  man,"  hence  "frank,  ingenuous";  progenies, 
"descent,  descendants,  offspring,  progeny";  gener,  "son-in-law"; 
genius,  "  innate  superior  nature,  tutelary  deity,  the  god  born  to  a 
place,"  hence  the  genius,  who  is  "born,"  not  "made";  genuinus, 
"  innate,  born-in,  genuine  "  ;  indigena,  "  native,  born-there,  indige- 
nous"; generosus,  "of  high,  noble  birth,"  hence  "noble-minded, 
generous  "  ;  genero,  "  I  beget,  produce,  engender,  create,  procreate," 
and  its  derivatives  degenero,  regenero,  etc.,  with  the  many  words 
springing  from  them.  From  the  same  radical  gen  comes  the  Latin 
(g)nascor,  "  I  am  bom,"  whose  stem  (g)na  is  seen  also  in  natio, 
"the  collection  of  those  born,"  or  "the  birth,"  and  natura,  "the 
world  of  birth,"  —  like  Greek  <f>v(Ti<;,  —  for  "nations"  and  "na- 
ture" have  both  "sprung  into  being."  The  Latin  germen  (our 
germ),  which  signified  "  sprig,  offshoot,  young  bud,  sprout,  fruit, 
embryo,"  probably  meant  originally  simply  "  growth,"  from  the 
root  ker,  "to  make  to  grow."  From  the  same  Indo-European 
radical  have  come  the  Latin  creare,  "to  create,  make,  produce," 
with  its  derivatives  procreare  and  creator,  which  we  now  apply 

80  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

to  the  Supreme  Being,  as  the  "maker"  or  "producer"  of  all 
things.  Akin  are  also  crescere,  "to  come  forth,  to  arise,  to 
appear,  to  increase,  to  grow,  to  spring,  to  be  born,"  and  Ceres, 
the  name  of  the  goddess  of  agriculture  (growth  and  creation), 
whence  our  word  cereal;  and  in  Greek  Kpwos,  the  son  of  Uranus 
(Heaven)  and  Gsea  (Earth),  Kparos,  "strength,"  and  its  derivar 
tives  ("democracy,"  etc.). 

Another  interesting  Latin  word  is  pario,  "  I  bring  forth,  pro- 
duce," whence  parens,  "  producer,  parent,"  partus,  "  birth,  bearing, 
bringing  forth ;  young,  offspring,  foetus,  embryo  of  any  creature," 
parturio,  parturitio,  etc.  Pario  is  used  alike  of  human  beings, 
animals,  birds,  fish,  while  parturio  is  applied  to  women  and  ani- 
mals, and,  by  Virgil,  even  to  trees, — parturit  arbos,  "the  tree  is 
budding  forth,"  —  and  by  other  writers  to  objects  even  less 

In  the  Latin  enitor,  "  I  bring  forth  or  bear  children  or  young," — 
properly,  "I  struggle,  strive,  make  efforts,"  —  we  meet  with  the 
idea  of  "  labour,"  now  so  commonly  associated  with  child-bearing, 
and  deriving  from  the  old  comparison  of  the  tillage  of  the  soil 
and  the  bearing  of  the  young.  This  association  existed  in 
Hebrew  also,  and  Cain,  the  first-born  of  Adam,  was  the  first 
agriculturist.  We  still  say  the  tree  hears  fruit,  the  land  hears 
crops,  is  fertile,  and  the  most  characteristic  word  in  English 
belonging  to  the  category  in  question  is  "to  hear"  children, 
cognate  with  Modern  High  German  ge-hdren,  Gothic  gabairan, 
Latin  ferre  (whence  fertilis),  Greek  <^ipuv,  Sanskrit  hhri,  etc.,  all 
from  the  Indo-European  root  bher,  "  to  carry  "  —  compare  the  use 
of  tragen  in  Modern  High  German  :  sie  trdgt  ein  Kind  unter  dem 
Herzen.  The  passive  verb  is  "to  be  horn,"  literally,  "to  be 
borne,  to  be  carried,  produced,"  and  the  noun  corresponding, 
birth,  cognate  with  German  Gehurt,  and  Old  Norse  burtlir,  which 
meant  "  embryo  "  as  well.  Eelated  ideas  are  seen  in  burden,  and 
in  the  Latin,  fors,  fortuna,  for  "  fortune "  is  but  that  which  is 
"  borne  "  or  "  produced,  brought  forth,"  just  as  the  Modern  High 
German  Heil,  "  fortune,  luck,"  is  probably  connected  with  the 
Indo-European  radical  gen,  "  to  produce." 

Corresponding  to  the  Latin  parentes,  in  meaning,  we  have  the 
Gothic  berusjos,  "  the  bearers,"  or  "  parents " ;  we  still  use  in 
English,  "forbears,"  in  the  sense  of  ancestors.      The  good  old 

Words  for  Child.  81 

English  phrase  "  with  child,"  which  finds  its  analogues  in  many- 
other  languages,  has,  through  false  modesty,  been  almost  driven 
out  of  literature,  as  it  has  been  out  of  conversational  language,  by 
pregnant,  which  comes  to  us  from  the  Latins,  who  also  used 
ffravidus,  —  a  word  we  now  apply  only  to  animals,  especially  dogs 
and  ants,  —  and  enceinte,  borrowed  from  French,  and  referring 
to  the  ancient  custom  of  girding  a  woman  who  was  Avith  child. 
Similarly  barren  of  direct  reference  to  the  child  are  accouchement, 
which  we  have  borrowed  from  French,  and  the  German  Ent- 

In  German,  Grimm  enumerates,  among  other  phrases  relating 
to  child-birth,  the  following,  the  particular  meanings  and  uses  of 
which  are  explained  in  his  great  dictionary :  Schwanger,  gross  zum 
Kinde,  zum  Kinde  gehen,  zxim  Kinde  arheiten,  nm's  Kind  Jcommen, 
mit  Kinde,  ein  Kind  tragen,  Kindesgrosz,  Kindes  schicer,  Kinder 
haben,  Kinder  bekommen.  Kinder  kriegen,  niederkommen,  entbinden, 
and  the  quaint  and  beautiful  eines  Kindts  genesen,  —  all  used  of 
the  mother.  Applied  to  both  parents  we  find  Kinder  machen, 
Kinder  bekommen  (now  used  more  of  the  mother),  Kinder  erzeur 
gen  (more  recently,  of  the  father  only).  Kinder  erzielen. 

Our  English  word  girl  is  really  a  diminutive  (from  a  stem  gir, 
seen  in  Old  Low  German  gor,  "  a  child  ")  from  some  Low  German 
dialect,  and,  though  it  now  signifies  only  "a  female  child,  a 
young  woman,"  in  Middle  English  gerl  (girl,  gurl)  was  applied  to 
a  young  person  of  either  sex.  In  the  Swiss  dialects  to-day  gurre, 
or  gurrli,  is  a  name  given  to  a  "  girl "  in  a  depreciatory  sense,  like 
our  own  "gii-1-boy."  In  many  primitive  tongues  there  do  not 
appear  to  be  special  words  for  "son"  and  "daughter,"  or  for 
"  boy  "  and  "  girl,"  as  distinguished  from  each  other,  these  terms 
being  rendered  "  male-child  (man-child),"  and  "  female-child 
(woman-child) "  respectively.  The  "  man-child "  of  the  King 
James'  version  of  the  Scriptures  belongs  in  this  category.  In 
not  a  few  languages,  the  words  for  "  son  "  and  "  daughter  "  and 
for  "boy"  and  "girl"  mean  really  "little  man,"  and  "little 
woman  "  —  a  survival  of  which  thought  meets  us  in  the  "  little 
man"  with  which  his  elders  are  even  now  wont  to  denominate 
"  the  small  boy."  In  the  Nahuatl  language  of  Mexico,  "  woman  " 
is  ciuatl,  "girl"  ciuatontli;  in  the  Niskwalli,  of  the  State  of 
Washington,  "man"  is  stobsh,  "boy"  stdtomish,  "woman"  ddne^ 


82  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

"girl"  chdchas  (i.e.  "small")  sldne;  in  the  Tacana,  of  South 
America,  "  man  "  is  dreja,  "  boy  "  drejave,  "  woman  "  epuna, 
"  girl "  epunave.  And  but  too  often  the  "  boys  "  and  "  girls  " 
even  as  mere  children  are  "little  men  and  women"  in  more 
respects  than  that  of  name. 

In  some  languages  the  words  for  "son,"  "boy,"  "  girl"  are 
from  the  same  root.  Thus,  in  the  Mazatec  language,  of  Mexico, 
we  find  indidi  "  boy,"  tzadi  "  girl,"  indi  "  son,"  and  in  the 
Cholona,  of  Peru,  nun-pullup  "  boy,"  ila-pullup  "  girl,"  pul  "  son," 
—  where  ila  means  "female,"  and  nun  "male." 

In  some  others,  as  was  the  case  with  the  Latin  puella,  from 
puer,  the  word  for  "  girl "  seems  derived  from  that  for  "  boy." 
Thus,  we  have  in  Maya,  mehen  "  son,"  ix-mehen  "  daughter,"  — 
-ix  is  a  feminine  prefix;  and  in  the  Jivaro,  of  Ecuador,  vila 
"  son,"  vilalu,  "  daughter." 

Among  very  many  primitive  peoples,  the  words  for  "  babe,  infant, 
child,"  signify  really  "  small,"  "  little  one,"  like  the  Latin  parvus, 
the  Scotch  wean  (for  wee  ane,  "  wee  one  "),  etc.  In  Hawaiian, 
for  example,  the  "  child  "  is  called  keiki,  "  the  little  one,"  and  in 
certain  Indian  languages  of  the  Western  Pacific  slope,  the  Wiyot 
kusha'ma  "child,"  Yuke  unsil  "infant,"  Wintun  cm-tut  "infant," 
Niskwalli  chd  chesh  "child  (boy),"  all  signify  literally  "small," 
"little  one." 

Some  languages,  again,  have  diminutives  of  the  word  for 
"child,"  often  formed  by  reduplication,  like  the  ivee  wean  of 
Lowland  Scotch,  and  the  pilpil,  "  infant "  of  the  Nahuatl  of 

In  the  Snanaimuq  language,  of  Vancouver  Island,  the  words 
k-d'ela,  "male  infant,"  and  k-Wk-ela,  "female  infant,"  mean  sim- 
ply "  the  weak  one."  In  the  Modoc,  of  Oregon,  a  "  baby "  is 
literally,  "  what  is  carried  on  one's  self."  In  the  Tsimshian,  of 
British  Columbia,  the  word  wok-d'uts,  "female  infant,"  signifies 
really  "without  labrets,"  indicating  that  the  creature  is  yet  too 
young  for  the  lip  ornaments.  In  Latin,  liberi,  one  of  the  words 
for  "  children,"  shows  on  its  face  that  it  meant  only  "  children, 
as  opposed  to  the  slaves  of  the  house,  servi" ;  for  liberi  really 
denotes  "  the  free  ones."  In  "  the  Galibi  language  of  Brazil, 
tigami  signifies  'young  brother,  son,  and  little  child,'  indis- 

Wordi  for  Child.  83 

The  following  passage  from  Westermarck  recalls  the  "my 
son,"  etc.,  of  our  higher  conversational  or  even  officious  style 
(166.93):  — 

"  Mr.  George  Bridgman  states  that,  among  the  Mackay  blacks 
of  Queensland,  the  word  for  '  daughter '  is  used  by  a  man  for  any 
young  woman  belonging  to  the  class  to  which  his  daughter  would 
belong  if  he  had  one.  And,  speaking  of  the  Australians,  Eyre 
says,  '  In  their  intercourse  with  each  other,  natives  of  different 
tribes  are  exceedingly  punctilious  and  polite ;  .  .  .  almost  every- 
thing that  is  said  is  prefaced  by  the  appellation  of  father,  son, 
brother,  mother,  sister,  or  some  other  similar  term,  corresponding 
to  that  degree  of  relationship  which  would  have  been  most  in 
accordance  with  their  relative  ages  and  circumstances." 

Similar  phenomena  meet  us  in  the  language  of  the  criminal 
classes,  and  the  slang  of  the  wilder  youth  of  the  country. 

Among  the  Andaman  Islanders  :  "  Parents,  when  addressing  or 
referring  to  their  children,  and  not  using  names,  employ  distinct 
terms,  the  father  calling  his  son  dar  odire,  i.e.  ' he  that  has  been 
begotten  by  me,'  and  his  daughter,  dar  odire-pail- ;  while  the 
mother  makes  use  of  the  word  dab  e-tire,  i.e.  'he  whom  I  have 
borne,'  for  the  former,  and  dab  etire  pail-  for  the  latter ;  similarly, 
friends,  in  speaking  of  children  to  their  parents,  say  respectively, 
ngar  o-dire,  or  ngab etire  (your  son), ngar  b-dire-pail-,  or ngab  etire- 
pail-  (your  daughter)  "  (498.  59). 

In  the  Tonkawe  Indian  language  of  Texas,  "to  be  bom"  is 
nikaman  yekhca,  literally,  "to  become  bones,"  and  in  the  Klamath, 
of  Oregon,  "  to  give  birth,"  is  nMkgt,  from  nkdk,  "  the  top  of  the 
head,"  and  gl,  "to  make,"  or  perhaps  from  kdk'gi,  "to  produce 
bones,"  from  the  idea  that  the  seat  of  life  is  in  the  bones.  In  the 
Nipissing  dialect  of  the  Algonkian  tongue,  nikanis,  "my  brother," 
signifies  literally,  "  my  little  bone,"  an  etymology  which,  in  the 
light  of  the  expressions  cited  above,  reminds  one  of  the  Greek 
aSeA<^(k,  and  the  familiar  "  bone  of  my  bone,"  etc.  A  very  inter- 
esting word  for  "child"  is  Sanskrit  toka,  Greek  tIkvov,  from  the 
Indo-European  radical  tek,  "  to  prepare,  make,  produce,  generate." 
To  the  same  root  belong  Latin  texere,  "to  weave,"  Greek  rrj^m/, 
"art";  so  that  the  child  and  art  have  their  names  from  the  same 
primitive  source  —  the  mother  was  the  former  of  the  child  as  she 
was  of  the  chief  arts  of  life. 

84  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

"  Flower-Names.^' 

The  people  who  seem  to  have  gone  farthest  in  the  way  of  words 
for  "child"  are  the  Andaman  Islanders,  who  have  an  elaborate 
system  of  nomenclature  from  the  first  year  to  the  twelfth  or 
fifteenth,  when  childhood  may  be  said  to  end.  There  are  also  in 
use  a  profusion  of  "flower-names"  and  complimentary  terms. 
The  "  flower-names  "  are  confined  to  girls  and  young  women  who 
are  not  mothers.  The  following  list  shows  the  peculiarity  of  the 
name-giving :  — 

1.  Proper  name  chosen  before  birth  of  child  :  .do-ra. 

2.  If  child  turns  out  to  be  a  boy,  he  is  called :  .do-ra-o-ta ;  if  a  girl,  .dora- 

kd,-ta  ;  these  names  {o-ta  and  ka-ta  refer  to  the  genital  organs  of  the  two 
sexes)  are  used  during  the  first  two  or  three  years  only. 

3.  Until  he  reaches  puberty,  the  boy  is  called:  . do -ra  tZaZa,  and  the  girl, 


4.  When  she  reaches  maturity,  the  girl  is  said  to  be  un-lQ-wi,  or  a-ka-la-wi, 

and  receives  a  "flower-name  "  chosen  from  the  one  of  "  the  eighteen 
prescribed  trees  which  blossom  in  succession"  happening  to  be  in 
season  when  she  attains  womanhood. 

5.  If  this  should  occur  in  the  middle  of  August,  when  the   Fterocarpus 

dalbergoides,  called  chQ-langa,  is  in  flower,  '■'■  .do-ra-po-ilola  would 
become  -clia-gara  do-ra,  and  this  double  name  would  cling  to  the  girl 
until  she  married  and  was  a  mother,  then  the  'flower'  name  would 
give  way  to  the  more  dignified  term  chiin-a  (madam  or  mother)  .du-ra  ; 
\  if  childless,  a  woman  has  to  pass  a  few  years  of  married  life  before  she 
is  called  clidn-a,  after  which  no  further  change  is  made  in  her  name." 

Much  other  interesting  information  about  name-giving  may  be 
found  in  the  pages  of  Mr.  Man's  excellent  treatise  on  this  primi- 
tive people  (498.  59-61 ;  201-208). 

Sign  Language. 

Interesting  details  about  signs  and  symbols  for  "  child "  may 
be  found  in  the  elaborate  article  of  Colonel  Mallery  on  "Sign 
Language  among  North  American  Indians"  (497a),  and  the  book 
of  Mr.  W.  P.  Clark  on  Indian  Sign  Language  (420). 

Colonel  Mallery  tells  us  that  "the  Egyptian  hieroglyphists, 
notably  in  the  designation  of  Horus,  their  dawn-god,  used  the 
finger  in  or  on  the  lips  for  'child.'     It  has  been  conjectured  in 

Words  for  Child.  85 

the  last  instance  that  the  gesture  implied,  not  the  mode  of  taking 
nourishment,  but  inability  to  speak,  in-fans."  This  conjecture, 
however,  the  author  rejects  (497a.  304).  Among  the  Arapaho 
Indians  ''the  sign  for  child,  baby,  is  the  forefinger  in  the  mouth, 
i.e.  a  nursing  child,  and  a  natural  sign  of  a  deaf-mute  is  the 
same;"  related  seem  also  the  ancient  Chinese  forms  for  "son" 
and  "birth,"  as  well  as  the  symbol  for  the  latter  among  the 
Dakota  Indians  (494  a.  3o6).  Claik  describes  the  symbol  for 
"  child,"  which  is  based  upon  those  for  "  parturition  "  and  "  height," 
thus:  "Bring  the  right  hand,  back  outwards,  in  front  of  centre 
of  body,  and  close  to  it,  fingers  extended,  touching,  pointing  out- 
wards and  downwards;  move  the  hands  on  a  curve  downwards 
and  outwards ;  then  carry  the  right  hand,  back  outwards,  well  out 
to  front  and  right  of  body,  fingers  extended  and  pointing  upwards, 
hand  resting  at  supposed  height  of  child ;  the  hand  is  swept  into 
last  position  at  the  completion  of  first  gesture.  In  speaking  of 
children  generally,  and,  ra  fact,  unless  it  is  desired  to  indicate 
height  or  age  of  the  child,  the  first  sign  is  all  that  is  used  or  is 
necessary.  This  sign  also  means  the  young  of  any  animal.  In 
speaking  of  children  generally,  sometimes  the  signs  for  different 
heights  are  only  made.  Deaf-mutes  make  the  combined  sign  for 
male  and  female,  and  then  denote  the  height  with  right  hand 
held  horizontally  "  (420.  109). 

For  "  baby,"  deaf-mutes  "  hold  extended  left  hand  back  down, 
in  front  of  body,  forearm  about  horizontal  and  pointing  to  right 
and  front ;  then  lay  the  back  of  partially  compressed  right  hand 
on  left  forearm  near  wrist "  (420.  57). 


The  interesting  and  extensive  field  of  personal  onomatology 
—  the  study  of  personal  names  —  cannot  be  entered  upon  ex- 
haustively here.     Shakespeare  has  said:  — 

"  What's  in  a  name  ?    That  which  we  call  a  rose 
By  any  other  name  would  smell  as  sweet,"  — 

and  the  same  remark  might  be  made  of  the  children  of  some 
primitive  peoples.  Not  infrequently  the  child  is  named  before 
it  is  born.     Of  the  Central  Eskimo  we  read  that  often  before  the 

86  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

birth  of  the  child,  "  some  relative  or  friend  lays  his  hand  upon 
the  mother's  stomach,  and  decides  what  the  infant  is  to  be  called ; 
and,  as  the  name  serves  for  either  sex,  it  is  of  no  consequence 
whether  it  be  a  girl  or  a  boy  "  (402.  612,  590).  Polle  has  a  good 
deal  to  say  of  the  deep  significance  of  the  name  with  certain 
peoples  —  "  to  be  "  and  "  to  be  named  "  appearing  sometimes  as 
synonymous  (517.  99).  "  Hallowed  be  Thy  name  "  expresses  the 
ideas  of  many  generations  of  men.  With  the  giving  of  a  name 
the  soul  and  being  of  a  former  bearer  of  it  were  supposed  to  enter 
into  and  possess  the  child  or  youth  upon  whom  it  was  conferred. 
Kink  says  of  the  Eskimo  of  East  Greenland,  that  "  they  seemed 
to  consider  man  as  consisting  of  three  independent  parts,  —  soid, 
body,  name "  (517.  122).  One  can  easily  understand  the  myste- 
rious associations  of  the  name,  the  taboos  of  its  utterance  or  pro- 
nunciation so  common  among  primitive  peoples  —  the  reluctance 
to  speak  the  name  of  a  dead  person,  as  well  as  the  desire  to  con- 
fer the  name  of  such  a  one  upon  a  new-born  child,  spring  both 
from  the  same  source. 

The  folk-lore  and  ceremonial  of  name-giving  are  discussed  at 
length  in  Ploss,  and  the  special  treatises  on  popular  customs.  In 
several  parts  of  Germany,  it  is  held  to  be  ominous  for  misfortune 
or  harm  to  the  child,  if  the  name  chosen  for  it  should  be  made 
known  before  baptism.  Sometimes,  the  child  is  hardly  recognized 
as  existing  until  he  has  been  given  a  name.  In  Gerbstadt  in 
Mansfeld,  Germany,  the  child  before  it  receives  its  name  is  known 
as  "  dovedung,"  and,  curiously  enough,  in  far-off  Samoa,  the  corre- 
sponding appellation  is  "  excrement  of  the  family -god  "  (517. 103). 

The  following  statement,  regarding  one  of  the  American  Indian 
tribes,  will  stand  for  many  other  primitive  peoples :  "  The  proper 
names  of  the  Dakotas  are  words,  simple  and  compounded,  which 
are  in  common  use  in  the  language.  They  are  usually  given  to 
children  by  the  father,  grandfather,  or  some  other  influential 
relative.  When  young  men  have  distinguished  themselves  in 
battle,  they  frequently  take  to  themselves  new  names,  as  the 
names  of  distinguished  ancestors  of  warriors  now  dead.  The  son 
of  a  chief  when  he  comes  to  the  chieftainship,  generally  takes  the 
name  of  his  father  or  grandfather,  so  that  the  same  names,  as  in 
other  more  powerful  dynasties,  are  handed  down  along  the  royal 
lines  "  (524.  44-45). 

Wordi  for  Child.  87 

Of  the  same  people  we  are  also  told :  "  The  Dakotas  have  no 
family  or  surnames.  But  the  children  of  a  family  have  particiilar 
names  which  belong  to  them,  in  the  order  of  their  birth  up  to  the 
fifth  child.  These  names  are  for  boys,  Caske.  Hepan,  Hepi,  Cat^, 
and  Hake.  For  girls  they  are,  Winona,  Hapan,  Hapistinna, 
Wanske,  and  Wihake." 

Terms  applied  to  Children. 

An  interesting  study  might  be  made  of  the  words  we  apply  to 
children  in  respect  of  size,  little,  small,  tcee,  tiny,  etc.,  very  many 
of  which,  in  their  etymology,  have  no  reference  to  childhood, 
or  indeed  to  smallness.  The  derivation  of  little  is  uncertain,  but 
the  word  is  reasonably  thought  to  have  meant  "little"  in  the 
sense  of  "deceitful,  mean,"  from  the  radical  lut,  "to  stoop" 
(hence  "to  creep,  to  sneak").  Curiously  enough,  the  German 
Tclein  has  lost  its  original  meaning,  —  partly  seen  in  our  dean, 
—  "  bright,  clear."  Small  also  belongs  in  the  same  category,  as 
the  German  schmal,  "narrow,  slim,"  indicates,  though  perhaps 
the  original  signification  may  have  been  "small"  as  we  now 
understand  it ;  a  cognate  word  is  the  Latin  macer,  "  thin,  lean," 
which  has  lost  an  s  at  the  beginning.  Even  tcee,  as  the  phrase 
"a  little  wee  bit"  hints,  is  thought  (by  Skeat)  to  be  nothing 
more  than  a  Scandinavian  form  of  the  same  word  which  appears 
in  our  English  tcay.  Skeat  also  tells  us  that  "a  little  teeny 
boy,"  meant  at  first  "a  little  fractious  (peevish)  boy,"  being 
derived  from  an  old  word  teen,  "  anger,  peevishness."  Analogous 
to  tiny  is  pettish,  which  is  derived  from  pet,  "mania's  pet,"  "a 
spoiled  child."  Endless  would  the  list  of  words  of  this  class 
be,  if  we  had  at  our  disposal  the  projected  English  dialect  dic- 
tionary; many  other  illustrations  might  be  drawn  from  the 
numerous  German  dialect  dictionaries  and  the  great  Swiss  lexicon 
of  Tobler. 

Still  more  interesting,  perhaps,  would  be  the  discussion  of  the 
special  words  used  to  denote  the  actions  and  movements  of  chil- 
dren of  all  ages,  and  the  names  and  appellatives  of  the  child 
derived  from  considerations  of  age,  constitution,  habits,  actions, 
speech,  etc.,  which  are  especially  numerous  in  Low  German  dia- 
lects and  such  forms  of  English  speech  as  the  Lowland  Scotch. 

88  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

Worthy  of  careful  attention  are  the  synonyms  of  child,  the  com- 
parisons in  which  the  child  figures  in  the  speech  of  civilized  and 
uncivilized  man;  the  slang  terms  also,  which,  like  the  common 
expression  of  to-day,  hid,  often  go  back  to  a  very  primitive  state 
of  mind,  when  "  children  "  and  "  kids  "  were  really  looked  upon 
as  being  more  akin  than  now.  Beside  the  terms  of  contempt  and 
sarcasm, — goose,  loon,  pig,  calf,  donkey,  etc., — those  figures  of 
speech  which,  the  world  over,  express  the  sentiment  of  the  writer 
of  the  Wisdom  of  Solomon  regarding  the  foolishness  of  babes,  — 
we,  like  the  ancient  Mexicans  and  many  another  lower  race,  have 
terms  of  praise  and  endearment,  —  *'  a  jewel  of  a  babe,"  and  the 
like,  —  legions  of  caressives  and  diminutives  in  the  use  of  which 
some  of  the  Low  German  dialects  are  more  lavish  even  than 
Lowland  Scotch. 

In  Grimm's  great  Deutsches  Worterbuch,  the  synonymy  of  the 
word  Kind  and  its  semasiology  are  treated  at  great  length, 
with  a  multitude  of  examples  and  explanations,  useful  to  students 
of  English,  whose  dictionaries  lag  behind  in  these  respects.  The 
child  in  language  is  a  fertile  subject  for  the  linguist  and  the  psy- 
chologist, and  the  field  is  as  yet  almost  entirely  unexplored. 

The  Child  in  the  PRDimvE  Laboratory. 

As  if  no  mother  had  made  you  look  nice.  —  Proverbial  Saying  of  Songish 

Spare  the  rod  and  spoil  the  child.  —  Hebrew  Proverb. 

Thou  art  weighed  in  the  balance  and  found  wanting.  —  Daniel  t.  27. 

He  has  lost  his  measure.  —  German  Saying. 

"Licking  into  Shape." 
Pope,  in  the  Dunciad,  has  the  well-known  lines :  — 

"  So  watchful  Bruin  forms,  with  plastic  care, 
Each  growing  lump,  and  brings  it  to  a  bear," 

a  conceit  found  in  Burton,  Montaigne,  Byron,  and  other  writers, 
and  based  upon  an  old  folk-belief  that  the  cubs  are  born  a  form- 
less lump  which  the  mother-bear  has  to  "  lick  into  shape."  The 
same  idea  gave  rise  to  the  "  ours  mal  leche  "  of  French,  and  our 
own  colloquial  expression  "  an  ill-licked  cub."  In  an  Alemanian 
lullaby  sung  while  washing  and  combing  the  child,  occurs  the 
following  curious  passage :  — 

"  I  bin  e  chleine  Pumpernickel, 
I  bin  e  chleine  Bar, 
Und  wie  mi  Gott  erschaffe  hSt, 
So  wagglen  ich  derher," 
["  I  am  a  little  Pumpernickel, 
I  am  a  little  bear. 
And  just  as  God  has  fashioned  me 
I  wiggle  about,"] 

which,  perhaps,  contains  the  same  thought.  In  a  recent  article. 
Professor  E.  W.  Pay  offers  an  etymology  of  the  word  "  livid  " 
which  facilitates  the  passage  from  animal  to  man:   " Lividus 

90  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

meant  'licked/  The  word  derives  from  an  animal's  licking  hurts 
and  sores  on  the  young.  A  mother  of  the  human  species  still 
kisses  (licks)  a  child's  hurt  to  make  it  well "  {Mod.  Lang. 
Notes,  IX.  263).  Who  has  not  had  his  mother  say:  "Does  it 
hurt  ?     Come  and  let  me  kiss  it,  and  make  it  well." 

Moreover,  Keclus  tells  us,  "There  are  Esquimaux  who  go 
further  in  their  demonstrations  of  affection,  and  carrying  their 
complaisance  as  far  as  Mamma  Puss  and  Mamma  Bruin,  lick 
their  babies  to  clean  them,  lick  them  well  over  from  head  to  foot " 
(523.  38).  Nor  is  it  always  the  mother  who  thus  acts.  Mante- 
gazza  observes :  "  I  even  know  a  very  affectionate  child,  who,  with- 
out having  learnt  it  from  any  one,  licks  the  people  to  whom  he 
wishes  to  show  friendship  "  (499.  144). 


Che  nasce  bella  nasce  maritata,  —  "  the  girl  born  pretty  is  born 
married,"  —  says  the  Italian  proverb,  and  many  devices  there  are 
among  primitive  races  to  ensure  the  beauty  which  custom  de- 
mands, but  which  nature  has  failed  to  provide. 

Among  the  Songish  Indians  of  British  Columbia,  there  is  a 
saying:  Tou  o'wuna  tiins ks^tctcd'ai,  —  "as  if  no  mother  had  made 
you  look  nice."  Doctor  Boas  describes  the  "  making  the  child 
look  nice  "  as  follows  (404.  20)  :  — 

"As  soon  as  it  is  born,  the  mother  rubs  it  from  the  mouth 
towards  the  ears,  so  as  to  press  the  cheek-bones  somewhat  up- 
ward. The  outer  corners  of  the  eyes  are  pulled  outward  that 
they  may  not  become  round,  which  is  considered  ill-looking.  The 
calves  of  the  legs  are  pressed  backward  and  upward,  the  knees 
are  tied  together  to  prevent  the  feet  from  turning  inward,  the 
forehead  is  pressed  down."  Among  the  Nootka  Indians,  accord- 
ing to  the  same  authority:  "Immediately  after  birth,  the  eye- 
brows of  the  babe  are  pressed  upward,  its  belly  is  pressed  forward, 
and  the  calves  of  the  legs  are  squeezed  from  the  ankles  upward. 
All  these  manipulations  are  believed  to  improve  the  appearance 
of  the  child.  It  is  believed  that  the  pressing  of  the  eyebrows 
will  give  them  the  peculiar  shape  that  may  be  noticed  in  all 
carvings  of  the  Indians  of  the  North  Pacific  Coast.  The  squeez- 
ing of  the  legs  is  intended  to  produce  slim  ankles  "  (404.  39). 

Primitive  Child- Study.  91 

The  subject  of  the  human  physiognomy  and  physical  charac- 
teristics in  folk-lore  and  folk-speech  is  a  very  entertaining  one, 
and  the  practices  in  vogue  for  beautifying  tbese  are  legion  and 
found  all  over  the  world  (204). 


Some  recollection  of  such  procedure  as  that  of  the  Songish 
Indians  seems  to  linger,  perhaps,  in  the  game,  which  Sicilian 
nurses  play  on  the  baby's  features.  It  consists  in  "  lightly 
touching  nose,  mouth,  eyes,  etc.,  giving  a  caress  or  slap  to  the 
chin,"  and  repeating  at  the  same  time  the  verses:  — 

"  Varvarutt€du 
Vucca  d'aneddu,  afiUatu, 
Occhi  di  stiddi 
Frunti  quatrata 
E  te  'cca  'na  timpulata." 

In  French  we  have  corresponding  to  this :  — 

'*  Beau  front 
Petits  yertr, 
Nez  can  can, 
Bouche  d'argent, 
Menton  fleuri, 

In  Scotch :  — 

In  English : 

"  Chin  cherry. 
Moo  merry, 
Nose  nappie, 
Ee  winkie, 
Broo  brinkie, 
Cock-up  jinkie.' 

"Eye  winker, 
Tom  Tinker, 
Nose  dropper. 
Mouth  eater. 
Chin  chopper." 

And  cognate  practices  exist  all  over  the  globe  (204.  21). 

92  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

Primitive  Weighing. 

"  Wortli  his  weight  in  gold  "  is  an  expression  which  has  behind 
it  a  long  history  of  folk-thought.  Professor  Gaidoz,  in  his  essay- 
on  Ransom  by  Weight  (236),  and  Haberlandt,  in  his  paper  on 
the  Tuldpurusha,  Mail- Weighing  (248)  of  India,  have  shown  to 
what  extent  has  prevailed  in  Europe  and  Asia  the  giving  of  one's 
weight  in  gold  or  other  precious  substances  by  prisoners  to  their 
captors,  in  order  to  secure  their  liberty,  by  devotees  to  the 
church,  or  to  some  saint,  as  a  cure  for,  or  a  preventitive  of  dis- 
ease, or  as  an  act  of  charity  or  of  gratitude  for  favours  received. 

The  expression  used  of  Belshazzar  in  Daniel  v.  27,  "  Thou  art 
weighed  in  the  balance,  and  foTind  wanting "  (and  the  analogue 
in  Job  xxxi.  6),  has  been  taken  quite  literally,  and  in  Brittany, 
according  to  the  Abbot  of  Soissons,  there  was  a  Chapel  of  the 
Balances,  "  in  which  persons  who  came  to  be  cured  miraculously, 
were  weighed,  to  ascertain  whether  their  weight  diminished  when 
prayer  was  made  by  the  monks  in  their  behalf."  Brewer  informs 
us  that  "  Rohese,  the  mother  of  Thomas  Becket,  used  to  weigh 
her  boy  every  year  on  his  birthday,  against  the  money,  clothes, 
and  provisions  which  she  gave  to  the  poor"  (191.  41).  From 
Gregory  of  Tours  we  learn  that  Charicus,  King  of  the  Suevi, 
when  his  son  was  ill,  "  hearing  of  the  miraculous  power  of  the 
bones  of  St.  Martin,  had  his  son  weighed  against  gold  and  silver, 
and  sent  the  amount  to  his  sepulchre  and  sanctuary  at  Tours" 
(236.  60). 

Weighing  of  infants  is  looked  upon  with  favour  in  some  portions 
of  western  Europe,  and  to  the  same  source  we  may  ultimately 
trace  the  modern  baby's  card  with  the  weight  of  the  newcomer 
properly  inscribed  upon  it,  —  a  fashion  which  bids  fair  to  be  a 
valuable  anthropometric  adjunct.  "  Hefting  the  baby  "  has  now 
taken  on  a  more  scientific  aspect  than  it  had  of  jore. 

The  following  curious  custom  of  the  eastern  Eskimo  is  perhaps 
to  be  mentioned  here,  a  practice  connected  with  their  treatment 
of  the  sick.  "  A  stone  weighing  three  or  four  pounds,  according 
to  the  gravity  of  the  sickness,  is  placed  by  a  matron  under  the 
pillow.  Every  morning  she  weighs  it,  pronouncing  meanwhile 
words  of  mystery.  Thus  she  informs  herself  of  the  state  of  the 
patient  and  his  chances  of  recovery.     If  the  stone  grows  con- 

Primitive  Child- Study.  93 

stantly  heavier,  it  is  because  the  sick  man  cannot  escape,  and  his 
days  are  numbered  "  (523.  39). 

It  is  a  far  cry  from  Greenland  to  England,  but  there  are  con- 
necting links  in  respect  of  folk-practice.  Mr.  Dyer  informs  us 
that  in  the  parish  church  of  Wingrove,  near  Ailesbury,  as  late 
as  1759,  a  certain  Mrs.  Hammokes  was  accused  of  witchcraft,  and 
her  husband  demanded  the  "trial  by  the  church  Bible."  So 
"  she  was  solemnly  conducted  to  the  parish  church,  where  she 
was  stript  of  all  her  clothes  to  her  shift,  and  weighed  against 
the  great  parish  Bible  in  the  presence  of  all  her  neighbours.  The 
result  was  that,  to  the  no  small  mortification  of  her  accuser,  she 
outweighed  the  Bible,  and  was  triumphantly  acquitted  of  the 
charge"  (436.  307,308). 

How  often  has  not  woman,  looked  upon  in  the  light  of  a  child, 
been  subjected  to  the  same  practices  and  ceremonies  ! 

Primitive  Measurements. 

The  etymology  and  original  significance  of  our  common  English 
words,  span,  hand,  foot,  cubit,  fathom,  and  their  cognates  and 
equivalents  in  other  languages,  to  say  nothing  of  the  self-ex- 
planatory finger's  breadth,  arm's  length,  knee-high,  ankle-deep,  etc., 
go  back  to  the  same  rude  anthropometry  of  prehistoric  and  primi- 
tive times,  from  which  the  classic  peoples  of  antiquity  obtained 
their  canons  of  proportion  and  symmetry  of  the  human  body 
and  its  members.  Among  not  a  few  primitive  races  it  is  the 
child  rather  than  the  man  that  is  measured,  and  we  there  meet 
with  a  rude  sort  of  anthropometric  laboratory.  From  Ploss,  who 
devotes  a  single  paragraph  to  "  Measurements  of  the  Body,"  we 
learn  that  these  crude  measurements  are  of  great  importance  in 
folk-medicine :  — 

"  In  Bohemia,  the  new-born  child  is  usually  measured  by  an  old 
woman,  who  measures  all  the  limbs  with  a  ribbon,  and  compares 
them  with  one  another;  the  hand,  e.g.,  must  be  as  long  as  the 
face.  If  the  right  relations  do  not  subsist,  prayers  and  various 
superstitious  practices  are  resorted  to  in  order  to  prevent  the 
devil  from  injuring  the  child,  and  the  evil  spirits  are  driven  out 
of  the  house  by  means  of  fumigation.  In  the  case  of  sick  chil- 
dren in  Bohemia  the  measuring  is  resorted  to  as  a  sympathetic 

94  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

cure.  In  other  parts  of  Germany,  on  the  other  hand,  in  Schleswig- 
Holstein,  Thuringia,  Oldenburg,  it  is  thought  that  measuring  and 
weighing  the  new-born  child  may  interfere  with  its  thriving  and 
growth  "  (326.  I.  302). 

Sibree  states  that  in  Madagascar,  at  circumcision,  the  child  is 
measured  and  sprinkled  with  water  (214.  6),  and  Ellis,  in  his 
history  of  that  island,  gives  the  following  details  of  the  ceremony 
(History  of  Madagascar,  Vol.  I.  p.  182) :  — 

"  The  children  on  whom  the  rite  is  to  be  performed  are  next 
led  across  the  blood  of  the  animal  just  killed,  to  which  some  idea 
of  sacredness  is  attached.  They  are  then  placed  on  the  west  side 
of  the  house,  and,  as  they  stand  erect,  a  man  holding  a  light  cane 
in  his  hand,  measures  the  first  child  to  the  crown  of  the  head, 
and  at  one  stroke  cuts  off  a  piece  of  the  cane  measured  to  that 
height,  having  first  carefully  dipped  the  knife  in  the  blood  of  the 
slaughtered  sheep.  The  knife  is  again  dipped  in  the  blood,  and 
the  child  measured  to  the  waist,  when  the  cane  is  cut  to  that 
height.  He  is  afterwards  measured  to  the  knee  with  similar 
results.  The  same  ceremony  is  performed  on  all  the  children 
successively.  The  meaning  of  this,  if  indeed  any  meaning  can  be 
attached  to  it,  seems  to  be  the  symbolical  removal  of  all  evils  to 
which  the  children  might  be  exposed,  —  first  from  the  head  to  the 
waist,  then  from  the  waist  to  the  knees,  and  finally,  from  the 
knees  to  the  sole  of  the  foot." 

The  general  question  of  the  measurement  of  sick  persons  (not 
especially  children),  and  of  the  payment  of  an  image  or  a  rod  of 
precious  metal  of  the  height  of  a  given  person,  or  the  height  of 
his  waist,  shoulders,  knee,  etc.,  of  the  person,  in  recompense  for 
some  insult  or  injury,  has  been  treated  of  by  Grimm,  Gaidoz,  and 
Haberlandt.  Gaidoz  remarks  (236.  74)  :  "  It  is  well  known  that 
in  Catholic  countries  it  is  customary  to  present  the  saints  with 
votive  offerings  in  wax,  which  are  representative  of  the  sicknesses 
for  which  the  saints  are  invoked ;  a  wax  limb,  or  a  wax  eye,  for 
instance,  are  representative  of  a  sore  limb  or  of  a  sore  eye,  the 
cure  of  which  is  expected  from  the  saint.  Wax  bodies  were 
offered  in  the  same  way,  as  we  learn  from  a  ludicrous  story  told 
by  Henri  Estienne,  a  French  writer  of  the  sixteenth  century. 
The  story  is  about  a  clever  monk  who  made  credulous  parents 
believe  he  had  saved  their  child  by  his  prayers,  and  he  says  to 

Primitive  Child- Study.  95 

the  father,  '  Now  your  son  is  safe,  thanks  to  God ;  one  hour  ago  I 
should  not  have  thought  you  would  have  kept  him  alive.  But  do 
you  know  w^hat  you  are  to  do  ?  You  ought  to  have  a  wax  effigy 
of  his  own  size  made  for  the  glory  of  God,  and  put  it  before  the 
image  of  the  holy  Ambrose,  at  whose  intercession  our  Lord  did 
this  favour  to  you.' "  Even  poorer  people  were  in  the  habit  of 
offering  wax  candles  of  the  height  or  of  the  weight  of  the  sick 

In  1888,  M.  Letourneau  (299)  called  attention  to  the  measure- 
ment of  the  neck  as  a  test  of  puberty,  and  even  of  the  virginity  of 
maidens.  In  Brittany,  "According  to  popular  opinion,  there  is  a 
close  relation  between  the  volume  of  the  neck  and  puberty,  some- 
times even  the  virginity  of  girls.  It  is  a  common  sight  to  see 
three  young  girls  of  uncertain  age  measure  in  sport  the  circum- 
ference of  the  neck  of  one  of  them  with  a  thread.  The  two  ends 
of  this  thread  are  placed  between  the  teeth  of  the  subject,  and  the 
endeavour  is  made  to  make  the  loop  of  the  thread  pass  over  the 
head.  If  the  operation  succeeds,  the  young  girl  is  declared 
'bonne  a  marier.' "  M^I.  Hanoteau  and  Letourneau  state  that 
among  the  Kabyles  of  Algeria  a  similar  measurement  is  made  of 
the  male  sex.  In  Kabylia,  where  the  attainment  of  the  virile 
state  brings  on  the  necessity  of  paying  taxes  and  bearing  arms, 
families  not  infrequently  endeavour  to  conceal  the  puberty  of 
their  young  men.  If  such  deceit  is  suspected,  recourse  is  had  to 
the  test  of  neck-measurement.  Here  again,  as  in  Brittany,  if  the 
loop  formed  by  the  thread  whose  two  ends  are  held  in  the  teeth 
passes  over  the  head,  the  young  man  is  declared  of  age,  and 
enrolled  among  the  citizens,  whilst  his  family  is  punished  by  a 
fine.  M.  ManouArrier  also  notes  that  the  same  test  is  also  employed 
to  discover  whether  an  adolescent  is  to  be  compelled  to  keep  the 
fast  of  Rhamadan. 

Measurements  of  Limbs  and  Body. 

M.  Mahoudeau  cites  from  TLllaux's  Anatomie  topographique,  and 
MM.  Perdrizet  and  Gaidoz  in  Melusine  for  1893,  quote  from  the 
Secrets  merveilleux  de  la  magie  naturelle  et  cabalistique  du  Petit 
Albert  (1743)  extracts  relating  to  this  custom,  which  is  also  re- 
ferred to  by  the  Homan  writers  C.  Valerius,  Catullus,  Vossius, 

96  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

and  Scaliger.  The  subject  is  an  interesting  one,  and  merits 
further  investigation.  Ellis  (42.  233)  has  something  to  say  on 
the  matter  from  a  scientific  point  of  view.  Grimm  has  called 
attention  to  the  very  ancient  custom  of  measuring  a  patient, 
"  partly  by  way  of  cure,  partly  to  ascertain  if  the  malady  were 
growing  or  abating."  This  practice  is  frequently  mentioned  in 
the  German  poems  and  medical  books  of  the  fourteenth  and 
fifteenth  centuries.  In  one  case  a  woman  says  of  her  husband, 
"  I  measured  him  till  he  forgot  everything,"  and  another,  desirous 
of  persuading  hers  that  he  was  not  of  sound  mind,  took  the 
measure  of  his  length  and  across  his  head.  In  a  Ztirich  Ms.  of 
1393,  "measuring"  is  included  among  the  unchristian  and  for- 
bidden things  of  sorcery.  In  the  region  about  Treves,  a  malady 
known  as  night-grip  (Nachtgriff)  is  ascertained  to  be  present  by 
the  following  procedure :  "  Draw  the  sick  man's  belt  about  his 
naked  body  lengthwise  and  breadthwise,  then  take  it  off  and 
hang  it  on  a  nail  with  the  words  *0  God,  I  pray  thee,  by  the 
three  virgins,  Margarita,  Maria  Magdalena,  and  Ursula,  be  pleased 
to  vouchsafe  a  sign  upon  the  sick  man,  if  he  have  the  night- 
grip  or  no ' ;  then  measure  again,  and  if  the  belt  be  shorter 
than  before,  it  is  a  sign  of  the  said  sickness."  In  the  Liegnitz 
country,  in  1798,  we  are  told  there  was  hardly  a  village  without 
its  messerin  (measuress),  an  old  woman,  whose  modus  operandi 
was  this:  "When  she  is  asked  to  say  whether  a  person  is  in 
danger  from  consumption,  she  takes  a  thread  and  measures  the 
patient,  first  from  head  to  heel,  then  from  tip  to  tip  of  the  out- 
spread arms ;  if  his  length  be  less  than  his  breadth  then  he  is 
consumptive;  the  less  the  thread  will  measure  his  arms,  the 
farther  has  the  disease  advanced ;  if  it  reaches  only  to  the  elbow, 
there  is  no  hope  for  him.  The  measuring  is  repeated  from  time 
to  time ;  if  the  thread  stretches  and  reaches  its  due  length  again, 
the  danger  is  removed.  The  wise  woman  must  never  ask  money 
for  her  trouble,  but  take  what  is  given."  In  another  part  of  Ger- 
many, "  a  woman  is  stript  naked  and  measured  with  a  piece  of 
red  yarn  spun  on  a  Sunday."  Sembrzycki  tells  us  that  in  the 
Elbing  district,  and  elsewhere  in  that  portion  of  Prussia,  the 
country  people  are  firmly  possessed  by  the  idea  that  a  decrease 
in  the  measure  of  the  body  is  the  source  of  all  sorts  of  maladies. 
With  an  increase  of  sickness  the  hands  and  feet  are  believed  to 

Primitive  Child- Study.  97 

lose  more  and  more  their  just  proportional  relations  one  with 
another,  and  it  is  believed  that  one  can  determine  how  much 
measure  is  yet  to  be  lost,  how  long  the  patient  has  yet  to  live. 
This  belief  has  given  rise  to  the  proverbial  phrase  das  Maas  ver- 
lieren  —  "  to  lose  one's  measure  "  (462.  III.  116^5). 

Not  upon  adults  alone,  however,  were  these  measurements 
carried  out,  but  upon  infants,  children,  and  youths  as  well.  Even 
in  the  New  World,  among  the  more  conservative  of  the  popula- 
tion of  Aryan  origin,  these  customs  still  flourish,  as  we  learn  from 
comparatively  recent  descriptions  of  trustworthy  investigators. 
Professor  J.  Howard  Gore,  in  the  course  of  an  interesting  article 
on  "The  Go-Backs,"  belief  in  which  is  current  among  the 
dwellers  in  the  mountain  regions  of  the  State  of  Virginia,  tells  us 
that  when  some  one  has  suggested  that  "  the  baby  has  the  '  go- 
backs,'  "  the  following  process  is  gone  through :  "  The  mother 
then  must  go  alone  with  the  babe  to  some  old  lady  duly  in- 
structed in  the  art  or  science  of  curing  this  blighting  disease. 
She,  taking  the  infant,  divests  it  of  its  clothing  and  places  it  on 
its  back.  Then,  -with  a  yarn  string,  she  measures  its  length  or 
height  from  the  crown  of  the  head  to  the  sole  of  the  heel,  cutting 
off  a  piece  which  exactly  represents  this  length.  This  she  applies 
to  the  foot,  measuring  off  length  by  length,  to  see  if  the  piece  of 
yam  contains  the  length  of  the  foot  an  exact  number  of  times. 
This  operation  is  watched  by  the  mother  with  the  greatest 
anxiety,  for  on  this  coincidence  of  measure  depends  the  child's 
weal  or  woe.  If  the  length  of  the  string  is  an  exact  multiple  of 
the  length  of  the  foot,  nothing  is  wrong,  but  if  there  is  a  re- 
mainder, however  small,  the  baby  has  the  go-backs,  and  the 
extent  of  the  malady  is  proportional  to  this  remainder.  Of 
course  in  this  measuring,  the  elasticity  of  the  yarn  is  not  re- 
garded, nor  repetitions  tried  as  a  test  of  accuracy"  (244.  108). 
Moreover,  "the  string  with  which  the  determination  was  made 
must  be  hung  on  the  hinge  of  a  gate  on  the  premises  of  the  in- 
fant's parents,  and  as  the  string  by  gradual  decay  passes  away,  so 
passes  away  the  '  go-backs.'  But  if  the  string  should  be  lost,  the 
ailment  will  linger  until  a  new  test  is  made  and  the  string  once 
more  hung  out  to  decay.  Sometimes  the  cure  is  hastened  by 
fixing  the  string  so  that  wear  will  come  upon  it." 

Professor  Gore  aptly  refers  to  the  Latin  proverb  ex  pede  Her- 

98  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

cuXem,  wliicli  arose  from  the  calculation  of  Pythagoras,  who  from 
the  stadium  of  6000  feet  laid  out  by  Hercules  for  the  Olympian 
games,  by  using  his  own  foot  as  the  unit,  obtained  the  length  of 
the  foot  of  the  mighty  hero,  whence  he  also  deduced  his  height. 
We  are  not  told,  however,  as  the  author  remarks,  whether  or  not 
Hercules  had  the  "  go-backs." 

Among  the  white  settlers  of  the  Alleghanies  between  south- 
western Georgia  and  the  Pennsylvania  line,  according  to  Mr.  J. 
Hampden  Porter,  the  following  custom  is  in  vogue :  "  Measuring 
an  infant,  whose  growth  has  been  arrested,  with  an  elastic  cord 
that  requires  to  be  stretched  in  order  to  equal  the  child's  length, 
will  set  it  right  again.  If  the  spell  be  a  wasting  one,  take  three 
strings  of  similar  or  unlike  colours,  tie  them  to  the  front  door  or 
gate  in  such  a  manner  that  whenever  either  are  opened  there  is 
some  wear  and  tear  of  the  cords.  As  use  begins  to  tell  upon 
them,  vigour  will  recommence  "  (480.  VII.  116).  Similar  practices 
are  reported  from  Central  Europe  by  Sartori  (392  (1895).  88), 
whose  article  deals  with  the  folk-lore  of  counting,  weighing,  and 

Tests  of  Physical  Efficiency. 

That  certain  rude  tests  of  physical  efficiency,  bodily  strength, 
and  power  of  endurance  have  been  and  are  in  use  among  primi- 
tive peoples,  especially  at  the  birth  of  children,  or  soon  after, 
or  just  before,  at,  or  after,  puberty,  is  a  well-known  fact,  further 
testified  to  by  the  occurrence  of  these  practices  in  folk-tales  and 
fairy-stories.  Lifting  stones,  jumping  over  obstacles,  throwing 
stones,  spears,  and  the  like,  crawling  or  creeping  through  holes 
in  stones,  rocks,  or  trees,  have  all  been  in  vogue,  and  some  of 
them  survive  even  to-day  in  England  and  in  other  parts  of 
Europe  as  popular  tests  of  puberty  and  virginity.  Mr.  Dyer,  in 
his  Church  Lore  Gleanings,  mentions  the  "  louping,"  or  "  petting " 
stone  at  Belford,  in  Northumberland  (England),  a  stone  "placed 
in  the  path  outside  the  church  porch,  over  which  the  bridal  pair 
with  their  attendants  must  leap"  —  the  belief  is  that  "the  bride 
must  leave  all  her  pets  and  humours  behind  her  when  she  crosses 
it."  At  High-Coquetdale,  according  to  Mr.  Henderson,  in  1868, 
a  bride  was  made  to  jump  over  a  stick  held  by  two  groomsmen 
at  the  church  door  (436.  125).      Another  very  curious   practice 

Primitive  Child- Study.  99 

is  connected  witli  St.  Wilfrid's  "  needle  "  at  Eipon  Cathedral  — 
said  to  be  an  imitation  of  the  Basilican  transenna.  Through  this 
passage  maidens  who  were  accused  of  unchastity  crept  in  order 
to  prove  their  innocence.  If  they  could  not  pass  through,  their 
guilt  was  presumed.  It  is  also  believed  that  "  poor  palsied  folk 
crept  through  in  the  expectation  of  being  healed."  At  Boxley 
Church  in  Kent,  there  was  a  "  small  figure  of  St.  Kumbold,  which 
only  those  could  lift  who  had  never  sinned  in  thought  or  deed " 
(436.  312,  313). 

At  a  marriage  among  the  Nootka  Indians  of  Vancouver  Island, 
the  groom's  party  essay  feats  like  these:  "Heavy  weights  are 
lifted ;  they  try  who  is  the  best  jumper.  A  blanket  with  a  hole 
in  the  centre  is  hung  up,  and  men  walk  up  to  it  blindfolded  from 
a  distance  of  about  twenty  steps.  When  they  get  near  it  they 
must  point  with  their  fingers  towards  the  blanket,  and  try  to  hit 
the  hole.  They  also  climb  a  pole,  on  top  of  which  an  eagle's  nest, 
or  something  representing  an  eagle's  nest,  is  placed.  The  winner 
of  each  game  receives  a  number  of  blankets  from  the  girl's 
father.  When  the  games  are  at  an  end,  the  groom's  father  dis- 
tributes blankets  among  the  other  party"  (404.  43).  This  re- 
minds us  of  the  games  at  picnics  and  social  gatherings  of  our  own 

In  the  Gentleman's  Magazine  for  January,  1895,  S.  0.  Addy, 
in  an  article  entitled  "  English  Surnames  and  Heredity,"  points 
out  how  the  etymologies  give  us  some  indications  of  the  physical 
characteristics  of  the  persons  on  whom  the  names  were  conferred. 
In  primitive  times  and  among  the  lower  races  names  are  even  of 
more  importance  in  this  respect. 

Clark  says :  "  I  have  seen  a  baby  not  two  days  old  snugly  tied 
up  in  one  of  these  little  sacks ;  the  rope  tied  to  the  pommel  of  the 
saddle,  the  sack  hanging  down  alongside  of  the  pony,  and  mother 
and  child  comfortably  jogging  along,  making  a  good  day's  march 
in  bitter  cold  winter  weather,  easily  keeping  up  with  a  column  of 
cavalry  which  was  after  hostile  Indians.  After  being  carefuUy 
and  firmly  tied  in  the  cradle,  the  child,  as  a  rule,  is  only  taken 
out  to  be  cleaned  in  the  morning,  and  again  in  the  evening  just 
before  the  inmates  of  a  lodge  go  to  sleep;  sometimes  also  in  the 
middle  of  the  day,  but  on  the  march  only  morning  and  evening" 
(420.  57). 

100  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

In  his  account  of  the  habits  of  the  Tarahumari  Indians,  Lum- 
holtz  observes  :  "  Heat  never  seems  to  trouble  them.  I  have  seen 
young  babies  sleeping  with  uncovered  heads  on  the  backs  of  their 
mothers,  exposed  to  the  fierce  heat  of  the  summer  sun."  The 
same  writer  tells  us  that  once  he  pulled  six  hairs  at  once  from  a 
sleeping  child,  "  without  causing  the  least  disturbance,"  and  only 
when  twenty-three  had  been  extracted  at  once  did  the  child  take 
notice,  and  then  only  scratched  its  head  and  slept  on  (107.  297). 

Colonel  Dodge  notes  the  following  practice  in  vogue  among 
the  wild  Indians  of  the  West :  — 

"  While  the  child,  either  boy  or  girl,  is  very  young,  the  mother 
has  entire  charge,  control,  and  management  of  it.  It  is  soon 
taught  not  to  cry  by  a  very  summary  process.  When  it  attempts 
to  *  set  up  a  yell,'  the  mother  covers  its  mouth  with  the  palm  of  her 
hand,  grasps  its  nose  between  her  thumb  and  forefinger,  and  holds 
on  until  the  little  one  is  nearly  suffocated.  It  is  then  let  go,  to  be 
seized  and  smothered  again  at  the  first  attempt  to  cry.  The  baby 
very  soon  comprehends  that  silence  is  the  best  policy  "  (432. 187). 

Of  the  Indians  of  Lower  California,  who  learn  to  stand  and 
walk  before  they  are  a  year  old,  we  are  told  on  the  authority  of 
the  missionary  Baegert :  "  When  they  are  born  they  are  cradled 
in  the  shell  of  a  turtle  or  on  the  ground.  As  soon  as  the  child  is 
a  few  months  old,  the  mother  places  it  perfectly  naked  astraddle 
on  her  shoulders,  its  legs  hanging  down  on  both  sides  in  front. 
In  this  guise  the  mother  roves  about  all  day,  exposing  her  help- 
less charge  to  the  hot  rays  of  the  sun  and  the  chilly  winds  that 
sweep  over  the  inhospitable  country  "  (306.  185). 


Curious  indeed  are  some  of  the  methods  in  use  among  primitive 
peoples  to  induce  sleep.  According  to  Mr.  Fraser,  the  natives  of 
a  village  near  the  banks  of  the  Girree,  in  the  Himalayan  region 
of  India,  had  the  following  custom  {Quart.  Rev.  XXIV.  109)  :  — 

"  The  mother,  seizing  the  infant  with  both  arms  and  aided  by 
the  knees,  gives  it  a  violent  whirling  motion,  that  would  seem 
rather  calculated  to  shake  the  child  in  pieces  than  to  produce  the 
effect  of  soft  slumber ;  but  the  result  was  unerring,  and  in  a  few 
seconds  the  child  was  fast  asleep." 

Primitive  Child- Study.  101 

Somewhat  akin  to  this  procedure  is  the  practice  our  modern 
mother?  and  nurses  have  of  swinging  the  baby  through  a  sort 
of  semicircle  in  their  arms,  accompanying  it  with  the  familiar 

song,  — 

"This  way, 
And  that  way,"  etc. 

This  song  and  action,  their  dolls  doing  duty  as  children,  have 
been  introduced  into  the  kindergarten,  and  even  figure  now  in 
"  doll-drills "  on  the  stage,  and  at  church  festivals  and  society 

Of  the  same  village  the  author  goes  on  to  say :  — 
"  Several  straw  sheds  are  constructed  on  a  bank,  above  which 
a  cold  clear  stream  is  led  to  water  their  fields,  and  a  small  por- 
tion of  this,  probably  of  three  fingers'  breadth,  is  brought  into 
the  shed  by  a  hollow  stick  or  piece  of  bark,  and  falls  from  this 
spout  into  a  small  drain,  which  carries  it  off  about  two  feet  below. 
The  women  bring  their  children  to  these  huts  in  the  heat  of  the 
day,  and  having  lulled  them  to  sleep  and  wrapt  their  bodies  and 
feet  warm  in  a  blanket,  they  place  them  on  a  small  bench  or  tray 
horizontally,  in  such  a  way  that  the  water  shall  fall  upon  the 
crown  of  the  head,  just  keeping  the  whole  top  wet  with  its 
stream.  We  saw  two  under  this  operation,  and  several  others 
came  in  while  we  remained,  to  place  their  children  in  a  similar 
way.  Males  and  females  are  equally  used  thus,  and  their  sleep 
seemed  sound  and  unruffled." 

"Heroic  Treatment." 

The  Andamanese  baby  "  within  a  few  hours  of  its  birth  has  its 
head  shaved  and  painted  with  kdi-ob-  (an  ochre-mixture),  while 
its  diminutive  face  and  body  are  adorned  with  a  design  in tdla-og- 
(white  clay) ;  this  latter,  as  may  be  supposed,  is  soon  obliterated, 
and  requires  therefore  to  be  constantly  renewed."  We  are  further 
informed  that  before  shaving  an  infant,  "the  mother  usually 
moistens  the  head  with  milk  which  she  presses  from  her  breast," 
while  with  older  children  and  adults  water  serves  for  this  pur- 
pose (498.  114). 

The  "heroic  treatment,"  meted  out  by  primitive  peoples  to 
children,  as  they  approach  puberty,  has  been  discussed  in  detail 

102  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

by  Ploss,  Kulischer,  Daniels.  Eeligion  and  the  desire  to  attract 
tlie  affection  or  attention  of  the  other  sex  seem  to  lie  very  close 
to  the  fundamental  reasons  for  many  of  these  practices,  as 
Westermarck  points  out  in  his  chapter  on  the  "  Means  of 
Attraction"  (166.  165-212).  A  divine  origin  is  often  ascribed 
to  these  strange  mutilations.  "  The  Australian  Dieyerie,  on 
being  asked  why  he  knocks  out  two  front  teeth  of  the  upper 
jaw  of  his  children,  can  answer  only  that,  when  they  were  created, 
the  Muramura,  a  good  spirit,  thus  disfigured  the  first  child,  and, 
pleased  at  the  sight,  commanded  that  the  like  should  be  done  to 
every  male  or  female  child  for  ever  after.  The  Pelew  Islanders 
believe  that  the  perforation  of  the  septum  of  the  nose  is  neces- 
sary for  winning  eternal  bliss;  and  the  Nicaraguans  say  that 
their  ancestors  were  instructed  by  the  gods  to  flatten  their  chil- 
dren's heads.  Again,  in  Fiji  it  is  supposed  that  the  custom  of 
tattooing  is  in  conformity  with  the  appointment  of  the  god 
Dengei,  and  that  its  neglect  is  punished  after  death.  A  similar 
idea  prevails  among  the  Kingsmill  Islanders  and  Ainos;  and 
the  Greenlanders  formerly  believed  that  the  heads  of  those  girls 
who  had  not  been  deformed  by  long  stitches  made  with  a  needle 
and  black  thread  between  the  eyes,  on  the  forehead,  and  upon  the 
chin,  would  be  turned  into  train  tubs  and  placed  under  the  lamps 
in  heaven,  in  the  land  of  souls  "  (165.  170,  171). 

Were  all  the  details  of  the  fairy-tales  true,  which  abound  in 
every  land,  the  cruelty  meted  out  to  the  child  suspected  of  being 
a  changeling  would  surpass  human  belief.  Hartland  enumerates 
the  following  procedures  as  having  been  in  use,  according  to 
legend,  to  determine  the  justice  of  the  suspicion:  Flinging  the 
child  on  a  dung-heap;  putting  in  the  oven;  holding  a  red-hot 
shovel  before  the  child's  face ;  heating  a  poker  red-hot  to  mark 
a  cross  on  its  forehead ;  heating  the  tongs  red-hot  to  seize  it  by 
the  nose ;  throwing  on,  or  into,  the  fire ;  suspending  over  the  fire 
in  a  pot;  throwing  the  child  naked  on  the  glowing  embers  at  mid- 
night; throwing  into  lake,  river,  or  sea  (258.  120-123).  These 
and  many  more  figure  in  story,  and  not  a  few  of  them  seem  to 
have  been  actually  practised  upon  the  helpless  creatures,  who, 
like  the  heathen,  were  not  supposed  to  call  for  pity  or  love.  Mr. 
Hartland  cites  a  case  of  actual  attempt  to  treat  a  supposed 
changeling  in  a  summary  manner,  which  occurred  no  later  than 

Primitive  Child- Study.  103 

May  17, 1884,  in  the  to-sm  of  Clomnel,  Ireland.  In  the  absence 
of  the  .mother  of  a  three-year-old  child  (fancied  by  the  neigh- 
bours to  be  a  changeling),  two  women  "entered  her  house  and 
placed  the  child  naked  on  a  hot  shovel,  'under  the  impression 
that  it  would  break  the  charm,'"  — the  only  result  being,  of 
course,  that  the  infant  was  very  severely  burned  (258.  121). 

On  the  other  hand,  children  of  true  Christian  origin,  infants 
who  afterwards  become  saints,  are  subject  to  all  sori^  of  torment 
at  the  hands  of  Satan  and  his  angels,  at  times,  but  come  forth, 
like  the  "  children "  of  the  fiery  furnace  in  the  time  of  Daniel, 
in  imitation  of  whose  story  many  of  the  hagiological  legends  have 
doubtless  been  put  forth,  unscathed  from  fire,  boiling  water,  roar- 
ing torrents,  and  other  perilous  or  deadly  situations  (191.  9,  122). 

The  Bright  Sros  of  CHn^D-LiFE :  Parental  Affection. 

These  are  my  jewels.  —  Cornelia  {mother  of  the  Gracchi). 

A  simple  child 

That  lightly  draws  its  hreath, 

And  feels  its  life  in  every  limb, 

What  should  it  know  of  death? —  Wordsworth. 

Children  always  turn  towards  the  light.  —  Hare. 

That  I  could  bask  in  Childhood's  sun 
And  dance  o'er  Childhood's  roses!  — Praed. 

Grief  fills  the  room  up  of  my  absent  child.  —  Shakespeare. 

Parental  Love. 

In  Ms  essay  on  The  Pleasures  of  Home,  Sir  John  Lubbock 
makes  the  following  statement  (494.  102)  :  — 

"  In  the  Origin  of  Civilization,  I  have  given  many  cases  show- 
ing how  small  a  part  family  affection  plays  in  savage  life.  Here 
I  will  only  mention  one  case  in  illustration.  The  Algonquin 
(North  America)  language  contained  no  word  for  'to  love/  so 
that  when  the  missionaries  translated  the  Bible  into  it  they 
were  obliged  to  invent  one.  What  a  life,  and  what  a  language, 
without  love ! " 

How  unfortunately  inaccurate,  how  entirely  unjustifiable,  such 
a  declaration  is,  may  be  seen  from  the  study  of  the  words  for  love 
in  two  of  the  Algonkian  dialects,  —  Cree  and  Chippeway,  —  which 
Dr.  Brinton  has  made  in  one  of  his  essays.  The  Conception  of 
Love  in  some  American  Languages.  Let  us  quote  the  ipsissima 
verba  (411.  415)  :  — 

(1)  "  In  both  of  them  the  ordinary  words  for  love  and  friendship 
are  derived  from  the  same  monosyllabic  root,  sak.    On  this,  accord- 


Affection  for  Children.  105 

ing  to  the  inflectional  laws  of  the  dialects,  are  built  up  the  terms 
for  the -love  of  man  to  woman,  a  lover,  love  in  the  abstract,  a 
friend,  friendship,  and  the  like.  It  is  also  occasionally  used  by 
the  missionaries  for  the  love  of  man  to  God  and  of  God  to  man." 

(2)  "  The  Cree  has  several  words  which  are  confined  to  paren- 
tal and  filial  love,  and  to  that  which  the  gods  have  for  men." 

(3)  "  In  the  Chippeway  there  is  a  series  of  expressions  for  fam- 
ily love  and  friendship  which  in  their  origin  carry  us  back  to  the 
same  psychological  process  which  developed  the  Latin  amare 
from  the  Sanscrit  sam." 

(4)  "The  highest  form  of  love,  however,  that  which  embraces 
all  men  and  all  beings,  that  whose  conception  is  conveyed  in  the 
Greek  dyaTTT;,  we  find  expressed  in  both  the  dialects  by  derivatives 
from  a  root  different  from  any  I  have  mentioned.  It  is  in  its  dia- 
lectic forms  Jcis,  keche,  or  kiji,  and  in  its  origin  it  is  an  intensive 
inter j actional  expression  of  pleasure,  indicative  of  what  gives  joy. 
Concretely,  it  signifies  what  is  completed,  permanent,  powerfiil, 
perfected,  perfect.  As  friendship  and  love  yield  the  most  exalted 
pleasure,  from  this  root  the  natives  drew  a  fund  of  words  to 
express  fondness,  attachment,  hospitality,  charity ;  and  from  the 
same  worthy  source  they  selected  that  adjective  [kije,  kise^,  which 
they  applied  to  the  greatest  and  most  benevolent  divinity." 

Surely  this  people  cannot  be  charged  with  a  lack  of  words  for 
love,  whose  language  enables  them  so  well  to  express  its  every 
shade  of  meaning.  Xay,  they  have  even  seen  from  afar  that 
"God  is  Love,"  as  their  concept  of  Michabo  tells  us  they  had 
already  perceived  that  He  was  "  Light." 

Motherhood  and  Faiherhood. 

The  nobility  and  the  sanctity  of  motherhood  have  found  recog- 
nition among  the  most  primitive  of  human  races.  A  Mussulman 
legend  of  Adam  and  Eve  represents  the  angel  Gabriel  as  saying 
to  the  mother  of  mankind  after  the  expulsion  from  Paradise: 
"Thou  shalt  be  rewarded  for  all  the  pains  of  motherhood,  and 
the  death  of  a  woman  in  child-bed  shall  be  accounted  as  martyr- 
dom "  (547.  38).  The  natives  of  the  Highlands  of  Borneo  hold 
that  to  a  special  hereafter,  known  as  "Long  Julan,"  go  those 
who  have  suffered  a  violent  death  (been  killed  in  battle,  or  by 

106  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

the  falling  of  a  tree,  or  some  like  accident),  and  women  who  die 
in  child-birth ;  which  latter  become  the  wives  of  those  who  have 
died  in  battle.  In  this  Paradise  everybody  is  rich,  with  no  need 
for  labour,  as  all  wants  are  supplied  without  work  (475.  199). 

Somewhat  similar  beliefs  prevailed  in  ancient  Mexico  and 
among  the  Eskimo. 

Even  so  with  the  father.  Zoroaster  said  in  the  book  of  the 
law :  "  I  name  the  married  before  the  unmarried,  him  who  has 
a  household  before  him  who  has  none,  the  father  of  a  family 
before  him  who  is  childless"  (125.  I.  108).  Dr.  Winternitz 
observes  of  the  Jews  :  "To  possess  children  was  always  the  great- 
est good-fortune  that  could  befall  a  Jew.  It  was  deemed  the  duty 
of  every  man  to  beget  a  son ;  the  Rabbis,  indeed,  considered  a 
childless  man  as  dead.  To  the  Cabbalists  of  the  Middle  Ages, 
the  man  who  left  no  posterity  behind  him  seemed  one  who  had 
not  fulfilled  his  mission  in  this  world,  and  they  believed  that  he 
had  to  return  once  more  to  earth  and  complete  it"  (385.  5). 

Ploss  (125.  I.  108)  and  Lallemand  (286.  21)  speak  in  like  terms 
of  this  children-loving  people.  The  Talmud  ranks  among  the 
dead  "  the  poor,  the  leprous,  the  blind,  and  those  who  have  no 
children,"  and  the  wives  of  the  patriarchs  of  old  cheerfully 
adopted  as  their  own  the  children  born  to  their  husband  by  slave 
or  concubine.  To  be  the  father  of  a  large  family,  the  king  of  a 
numerous  people,  was  the  ideal  of  the  true  Israelite.  So,  also, 
was  it  in  India  and  China. 

Ploss  and  Haberlandt  have  a  good  deal  to  say  of  the  ridicule 
lavished  upon  old  maids  and  bachelors  among  the  various  peoples 
and  races,  and  Rink  has  recorded  not  a  few  tales  on  this  head 
from  the  various  tribes  of  the  Eskimo  —  in  these  stories,  which 
are  of  a  more  or  less  trifling  and  outre  character,  bachelors  are 
unmercifully  derided  (525.  465). 

With  the  Chippeways,  also,  the  bachelor  is  a  butt  for  wit  and 
sarcasm.  A  tale  of  the  Mississagas  of  Skugog  represents  a 
bachelor  as  "  having  gone  off  to  a  certain  spot  and  built  a  lot  of 
little  *  camps.'  He  built  fires,  etc.,  and  passed  his  time  trying  to 
make  people  believe  he  was  not  alone.  He  used  to  laugh  and 
talk,  and  pretend  that  he  had  people  living  there."  Even  the 
culture-heroes  Gluskap  and  Naniboju  are  derided  in  some  of  the 
tales  for  not  being  married  (166.  376). 

Affection  for  Children.  107 

According  to  Barbosa  (67.  161),  a  writer  of  the  early  part  of 
the  sixteenth  century,  the  Nairs,  a  Bravidian  people  of  the 
Malabar  coast  (523.  159),  believed  that  "  a  maiden  who  refused 
to  marry  and  remained  a  virgin  would  be  shut  out  of  Paradise." 
The  Fijians  excluded  from  Paradise  all  bachelors;  they  were 
smashed  to  pieces  by  the  god  Xangganangga  (166.  137). 

In  the  early  chronicles  and  mythic  lore  of  many  peoples  there 
are  tales  of  childless  couples,  who,  in  their  quaint  fashion,  pray- 
ing to  the  gods,  have  been  blest  with  the  desired  offspring.  There 
is,  however,  no  story  more  pathetic,  or  more  touching,  than  the 
Russian  folk-tale  cited  by  Kalston,  in  which  we  read  concerning 
an  old  childless  couple  (520.  176) :  "  At  last  the  husband  went 
into  the  forest,  felled  wood,  and  made  a  cradle.  Into  this  his 
wife  laid  one  of  the  logs  he  had  cut,  and  began  swinging  i1^ 
crooning  the  while  a  tune  beginning :  — 

'  Swing,  blockie  dear,  swing.' 

After  a  little  time,  behold !  the  block  already  had  legs.  The  old 
woman  rejoiced  greatly,  and  began  swinging  anew,  and  went  on 
swinging  until  the  block  became  a  babe." 

The  rude  prayers  and  uncouth  aspirations  of  barbarous  and 
savage  peoples,  these  crude  ideas  of  the  uncivilized  races  of  men, 
when  sounded  in  their  deepest  depths,  are  the  folk-expression  of 
the  sacredness  of  the  complete  family,  the  forerunners  of  the 
poet's  prayer :  — 

•'  Seigneur  !  pr^servez-moi,  pr&ervez  ceux  que  j'aime, 
Frferes,  parents,  amis,  et  ennemis  meme 

Dans  le  mal  triomphants, 
De  jamais  voir.  Seigneur !  Pet^  sans  fleurs  vermeilles. 
La  cage  sans  oiseaux,  la  ruche  sans  abeilles, 

La  maison  sans  enfants." 

The  affection  of  the  ancient  Egyptians  for  their  children  is 
noted  by  Erman.  The  child  is  called  "  mine,"  "  the  only  one," 
and  is  "  loved  as  the  eyes  of  its  parents  "  ;  it  is  their  "  beauty," 
or  "wealth."  The  son  is  the  "  fair-come  "  or  "welcome " ;  at  his 
birth  "wealth  comes."  At  the  birth  of  a  girl  it  is  said  "beauty 
comes,"  and  she  is  called  "  the  lady  of  her  father  "  (441.  216-230). 
Interesting  details  of  Egyptian  child-life  and  education  may  be 
read  in  the  recently  edited  text  of  Amelineau  (179),  where  many 

108  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

maxims  of  conduct  and  behaviour  are  given.  Indeed,  in  tlie 
naming  of  children  we  have  some  evidence  of  motherly  and 
fatherly  affection,  some  indication  of  the  gentle  ennobling  influ- 
ence of  this  emotion  over  language  and  linguistic  expression. 
True  is  it  all  over  the  world :  — 

Liebe  Kinder  haben  viele  Namen. 
[Dear  children  have  many  names.] 

The  Dead  Child. 

Parental  affection  is  nowhere  more  strongly  brought  out  than 
in  the  lamentations  for  the  dead  among  some  of  the  lowest  tribes 
of  Californian  Indians.  Of  the  Yokaia,  Mr.  Powers  tells  us 
(519.  166) :  — 

"It  is  their  custom  to  'feed  the  spirits  of  the  dead'  for  the 
space  of  one  year,  by  going  daily  to  places  which  they  were 
accustomed  to  frequent  while  living,  where  they  sprinkle  piiiole 
upon  the  ground.  A  Yokaia  mother  who  has  lost  her  babe  goes 
every  day  for  a  year  to  some  place  where  her  little  one  played 
while  alive,  or  to  the  spot  where  its  body  was  burned,  and  milks 
her  breasts  into  the  air.  This  is  accompanied  by  plaintive 
mourning  and  weeping  and  piteous  calling  upon  her  little  one  to 
return,  and  sometimes  she  sings  a  hoarse  and  melancholy  chant, 
and  dances  with  a  wild,  ecstatic  swaying  of  the  body." 

Of  the  Miwok  the  same  authority  says :  — 

"The  squaws  wander  off  into  the  forest,  wringing  their  arms 
piteously,  beating  the  air,  with  eyes  upturned,  and  adjuring  the 
departed  one,  whom  they  tenderly  call  'dear  child,'  or  'dear 
cousin '  (whether  a  relative  or  not),  to  return." 

Of  the  Niskwalli  Indians,  of  the  State  of  "Washington,  Dr. 
Gibbs  observes  (457.  205)  :  — 

"  They  go  out  alone  to  some  place  a  little  distant  from  the  lodge 
or  camp,  and  in  a  loud,  sobbing  voice,  repeat  a  sort  of  stereotyped 
formula,  as,  for  instance,  a  mother  on  the  loss  of  her  child :  — 

*  Ah  seahb!  shed-da  hud-dah  ah-ta-hudl  ad-de-dah! 
Ah  chief       my        child        dead  I  alas ! ' 

When  in  dreams  they  see  any  of  their  deceased  friends  this 
lamentation  is  renewed." 

Affection  for  Children.  109 

Very  beautiful  and  touching  in  the  extreme  is  the  conduct  of 
the  Kabinapek  of  California :  — 

"  A  peculiarity  of  this  tribe  is  the  intense  sorrow  with  which 
they  mourn  for  their  children  when  dead.  Their  grief  is  im- 
measurable. They  not  only  burn  up  everything  that  the  baby 
ever  touched,  but  everything  that  they  possess,  so  that  they 
absolutely  begin  life  over  again  —  naked  as  they  were  born,  with- 
out an  article  of  property  left "  (519.  206). 

Besides  the  custom  of  "  feeding  the  spirits  of  the  dead,"  just 
noticed,  there  exists  also  among  certain  of  the  Californian 
Indians  the  practice  of  "  whispering  a  message  into  the  ear  of  the 
dead."  Mr.  Powers  has  preserved  for  us  the  following  most 
beautiful  speech,  which,  he  tells  us,  was  whispered  into  the  ear 
of  a  child  by  a  woman  of  the  Karok  ere  the  first  shovelful  of 
earth  was  cast  upon  it  (519.  34) :  "  O,  darling,  my  dear  one, 
good-bye !  Xever  more  shall  your  little  hands  softly  clasp  these 
old  withered  cheeks,  and  your  pretty  feet  shall  print  the  moist 
earth  around  my  cabin  never  more.  You  are  going  on  a  long 
journey  in  the  spirit-land,  and  you  must  go  alone,  for  none  of  us 
can  go  with  you.  Listen  then  to  the  words  which  I  speak  to 
you  and  heed  them  well,  for  I  speak  the  truth.  In  the  spirit- 
land  there  are  two  roads.  One  of  them  is  a  path  of  roses,  and  it 
leads  to  the  Happy  Western  Land  beyond  the  great  water,  where 
you  shall  see  your  dear  mother.  The  other  is  a  path  strewn  with 
thorns  and  briars,  and  leads,  I  know  not  whither,  to  an  evil  and 
dark  land,  full  of  deadly  serpents,  where  you  wander  forever. 
O,  dear  child,  choose  you  the  path  of  roses,  which  leads  to  the 
Happy  "Western  Land,  a  fair  and  sunny  land,  beautiful  as  the 
morning.  And  may  the  great  Kareya  [the  Christ  of  these 
aborigines]  help  you  to  walk  in  it  to  the  end,  for  your  little 
tender  feet  must  walk  alone.  0,  darling,  my  dear  one,  good- 

This  whispering  to  the  dead  is  found  in  other  parts  of  the 
world.  Mr.  Hose,  describing  the  funeral  of  a  boy,  which  he  wit- 
nessed in  Borneo,  says  (475.  198)  :  — 

"As  the  lid  of  the  coffin  was  being  closed,  an  old  man  came 
out  on  the  verandah  of  the  house  with  a  large  gong  (Tetawak) 
and  solemnly  beat  it  for  several  seconds.  The  chief,  who  was 
sitting  near,  informed  me  that  this  was  done  always  before  clos- 

110  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

ing  the  lid,  that  the  relations  of  the  deceased  might  know  that 
the  spirit  was  coming  to  join  them;  and  upon  his  arrival  in 
Apo  Leggan  [Hades]  they  would  probably  greet  him  in  such 
terms  as  these :  *  0  grandchild,  it  was  for  you  the  gong  was 
beating,  which  we  heard  just  now;  what  have  you  brought? 
How  are  they  all  up  above  ?  Have  they  sent  any  messages  ? '  " 
The  new  arrival  then  delivers  the  messages  entrusted  to  him,  and 
gives  the  cigarettes  —  which,  rolled  up  in  a  banana-leaf,  have 
been  placed  in  his  hand  —  as  proof  of  the  truth  of  what  he  says. 
These  cigarettes  retain  the  smell  of  the  hand  that  made  them, 
which  the  dead  relations  are  thought  to  be  able  to  recognize. 

Motherhood  and  Infanticide. 

The  intimate  relationship  recognized  as  existing  between  the 
infant  and  its  mother  has  been  among  many  primitive  peoples  a 
frequent  cause  of  infanticide,  or  has  been  held  at  least  to  excuse 
and  justify  that  crime.     Of  the  natives  of  Ashanti,  Ellis  says :  — 

"  Should  the  mother  die  in  childbirth,  and  the  child  itself  be 
born  alive,  it  is  customary  to  bury  it  with  the  mother.  .  .  .  The 
idea  seems  to  be  that  the  child  belongs  to  the  mother,  and  is  sent 
to  accompany  her  to  Srahmanadzi  [ghost-land],  so  that  her  srah- 
man  [ghost]  may  not  grieve  for  it "  (438.  234).  Post  states  that 
in  Unydro,  when  the  mother  dies  in  childbirth,  the  infant  is 
killed ;  among  the  Hottentots  it  was  exposed  (if  the  mother  died 
during  the  time  of  suckling,  the  child  was  buried  alive  with  her)  ; 
among  the  Damara,  "when  poor  women  die  and  leave  children 
behind  them,  they  are  often  buried  with  the  mother"  (127.  I. 

According  to  Collins  and  Barrington,  among  certain  native 
tribes  of  Australia,  "  when  the  mother  of  a  suckling  dies,  if  no 
adoptive  parents  can  be  found,  the  child  is  placed  alive  in  the 
arms  of  the  corpse  and  buried  together  with  it"  (125.  II.  589). 
Of  the  Banians  of  Bombay,  Niebuhr  tells  us  that  children  under 
eighteen  months  old  are  buried  when  the  mother  dies,  the  corpse 
of  the  latter  being  burned  at  ebb  tide  on  the  shore  of  the  sea,  so 
that  the  next  tide  may  wash  away  the  ashes  (125.  II.  581).  In 
certain  parts  of  Borneo :  "  If  a  mother  died  in  childbirth,  it  was 
the  former  practice  to  strap  the  living  babe  to  its  dead  mother, 

Affection  for  Children.  Ill 

and  bury  them  both  together.  '  Why  should  it  live  ? '  say  they. 
*  It  has  been  the  death  of  its  mother ;  now  she  is  gone,  who  will 
suckle  it?'"  (481  (1893).  133). 

In  certain  parts  of  Australia,  "  children  who  have  caused  their 
mother  great  pain  in  birth  are  put  to  death"  (127.  I.  288),  and 
among  the  Sakalavas  of  Madagascar,  the  child  of  a  woman  dying 
in  childbed  is  buried  alive  with  her,  the  reason  given  being  "  that 
the  child  may  thus  be  punished  for  causing  the  death  of  its 
mother"  (125.  II.  590). 

As  has  been  noted  elsewhere,  not  a  few  primitive  peoples  have 
considered  that  death,  in  consequence  of  giving  birth  to  a  child, 
gained  for  the  mother  entrance  into  Paradise.  But  with  some 
more  or  less  barbarous  tribes  quite  a  different  idea  prevails. 
Among  the  Ewe  negroes  of  the  slave  coast  of  West  Africa, 
women  dying  in  childbirth  become  blood-seeking  demons ;  so  also 
in  certain  parts  of  Borneo,  and  on  the  Sumatran  island  of  Xias, 
where  they  torment  the  living,  plague  women  who  are  with  child, 
and  kill  the  embryo  in  the  womb,  thus  causing  abortion ;  in  Java, 
they  make  women  in  labour  crazy ;  in  Amboina,  the  Uliase  and 
Kei  Islands,  and  Gilolo,  they  become  evil  spirits,  torturing  women 
in  labour,  and  seeking  to  prevent  their  successful  delivery;  in 
Gilolo,  the  Kei  group,  and  Celebes,  they  even  torment  men,  seek- 
ing to  emasculate  them,  in  revenge  for  the  misfortune  which  has 
overtaken  them  (397.  19). 

Of  the  Doracho  Indians  of  Central  America,  the  following 
statement  is  made:  "When  a  mother,  who  is  still  suckling  her 
child,  dies,  the  latter  is  placed  alive  upon  her  breast  and  burned 
with  her,  so  that  in  the  future  life  she  may  continue  to  suckle  it 
with  her  own  milk  "  (125.  II.  589).  Powers  remarks  concerning 
the  Korusi  (Patwin)  Indians  of  California  (519.  222) :  "  When  a 
woman  died,  leaving  her  infant  very  young,  the  friends  shook  it 
to  death  in  a  skin  or  blanket.  This  was  done  even  with  a  half- 
breed  child."  Of  the  Kishinam  Indians,  the  same  authority 
informs  us :  "  When  a  mother  dies,  leaving  a  very  young  infant, 
custom  allows  the  relatives  to  destroy  it.  This  is  generally  done 
by  the  grandmother,  aunt,  or  other  near  relative,  who  holds  the 
poor  innocent  in  her  arms,  and,  while  it  is  seeking  the  maternal 
fountain,  presses  it  to  her  breast  until  it  is  smothered.  We  must 
not  judge  them  too  harshly  for  this.     They  knew  nothing  of  bottle 

112  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

nurture,  patent  nipples,  or  any  kind  of  milk  whatever,  other  than 
the  human  "  (519.  328). 

Among  the  Wintun,  also,  young  infants  are  known  to  have 
been  buried  when  the  mother  had  died  shortly  after  confinement 
(519.  232). 

The  Eskimo,  Letourneau  informs  us,  were  wont  to  bury  the 
little  child  with  its  dead  mother,  for  they  believed  that  unless  this 
were  done,  the  mother  herself  would  call  from  Killo,  the  other 
world,  for  the  child  she  had  borne  (100.  147,  148). 

The  Dead  Mother. 

To  none  of  the  saintly  dead,  to  none  of  our  race  who  have 
entered  upon  the  life  beyond  the  grave,  is  it  more  meet  to  pray 
than  to  the  mother ;  folk-faith  is  strong  in  her  power  to  aid 
and  bless  those  left  behind  on  earth.  That  sympathetic  relation 
existing  between  mother  and  child  when  both  are  living,  is  often 
believed  to  exist  when  one  has  departed  into  the  other  world. 
By  the  name  wa-hd4  ca-pi,  the  Dakota  Indians  call  the  feeling  the 
(living)  mother  has  for  her  absent  (living)  child,  and  they  assert 
that  "  mothers  feel  peculiar  pain  in  their  breasts  when  anything 
of  importance  happens  to  their  absent  children,  or  when  about 
to  hear  from  them.  This  feeling  is  regarded  as  an  omen."  That 
the  mother,  after  death,  should  feel  the  same  longing,  and  should 
return  to  help  or  to  nourish  her  child,  is  an  idea  common  to  the 
folk-belief  of  many  lands,  as  Ploss  (125.  II.  589)  and  Zmigrodzki 
have  noted. 

"  Amid  the  song  of  the  angels,"  says  Zmigrodzki  (174.  142), 
"the  plaint  of  her  child  on  earth  reaches  the  mother's  ear,  and 
pierces  her  heart  like  a  knife.  Descend  to  earth  she  must  and 
does."  In  Brittany  she  is  said  to  go  to  God  Himself  and  obtain 
permission  to  visit  earth.  Her  flight  will  be  all  the  easier,  if, 
before  burial,  her  relatives  have  loosed  her  hair.  In  various 
parts  of  Germany  and  Switzerland,  the  belief  is  that  for  six 
weeks  the  dead  mother  will  come  at  night  to  suckle  her  child, 
and  a  pair  of  slippers  or  shoes  are  always  put  into  the  coffin  with 
the  corpse,  for  the  mother  has  to  travel  over  thistles,  thorns,  and 
sharp  stones  to  reach  her  child.  Widespread  over  Europe  is  this 
belief  in  the  return  of  the  mother,  who  has  died  in  giving  life  to 

Affection  for  Children.  113 

her  little  one.  Till  cock-crow  in  the  morning  she  may  suckle  it, 
wash  it,  fondle  it ;  the  doors  open  of  themselves  for  her.  If  the 
child  is  being  well  treated  by  its  relatives,  the  mother  rejoices, 
and  soon  departs ;  but  if  it  has  been  neglected,  she  attends  to  it, 
and  waits  till  the  last  moment,  making  audible  her  xinwillingness 
to  depart.  If  the  neglect  continues,  the  mother  descends  to  earth 
once  more,  and,  taking  the  child  with  her,  returns  to  heaven  for 
good.  And  when  the  mother  with  her  offspring  approaches  the 
celestial  gates,  they  fly  wide  open  to  receive  them.  Never,  in  the 
folk-faith,  was  entrance  readier  granted,  never  was  Milton's  con- 
cept more  completely  realized,  when 

"  Heaven  open'd  wide 
Her  ever-during  gates,  harmonious  sound, 
On  golden  hinges  moving." 

In  a  modem  Greek  folk-song  three  youths  plot  to  escape  from 
Hades,  and  a  young  mother,  eager  to  return  to  earth  to  suckle  her 
infant  child,  persuades  them  to  allow  her  to  accompany  them. 
Charon,  however,  suddenly  appears  upon  the  scene  and  seizes 
them  just  as  they  are  about  to  flee.  The  beautiful  young  woman 
then  appeals  to  him :  "  Let  go  of  my  hair,  Charon,  and  take  me  by 
the  hand.  If  thou  wilt  but  give  my  child  to  drink,  I  will  never 
try  to  escape  from  thee  again  "  (125.  II.  589). 

The  watchful  solicitude  of  the  mother  in  heaven  over  her  chil- 
dren on  earth  appears  also  in  the  Basque  country  (505.  73),  and 
Ralston,  noting  its  occurrence  in  Russia,  observes  (520.  265) :  — 

"  Appeals  for  aid  to  a  dead  parent  are  of  frequent  occurrence 
in  the  songs  still  sung  by  the  Russian  peasantry  at  funerals  or 
over  graves ;  especially  in  those  in  which  orphans  express  their 
grief,  calling  upon  the  grave  to  open,  and  the  dead  to  appear  and 
listen  and  help.  So  in  the  Indian  story  of  Punchkin,  the  seven 
hungry,  stepmother-persecuted  princesses  go  out  every  day  and 
sit  by  their  dead  mother's  tomb,  and  cry,  and  say,  '  Oh,  mother, 
mother,  cannot  you  see  your  poor  children,  how  unhappy  we  are,' 
etc.,  until  a  tree  grows  up  out  of  the  grave  laden  with  fruits  for 
their  relief.  So,  in  the  German  tale,  Cinderella  is  aided  by  the 
white  bird,  which  dwells  in  the  hazel-tree  growing  out  of  her 
mother's  grave." 

Crude  and  savage,  but  bom  of  a  like  faith  in  the  power  of  the 

114  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

dead  mother,  is  the  inhuman  practice  of  the  people  of  the  Congo, 
where,  it  is  said,  "the  son  often  kills  his  mother,  in  order  to 
secure  the  assistance  of  her  soul,  now  a  formidable  spirit" 
(388.  81). 

Heavy  upon  her  offspring  weighs  the  curse  of  a  mother. 
Ralston,  speaking  of  the  Russian  folk-tales,  says  (520.  363)  :  — 

"  Great  stress  is  laid  in  the  skazkas  and  legends  upon  the  terri- 
ble power  of  a  parent's  curse.  The  '  hasty  word '  of  a  father  or  a 
mother  will  condemn  even  an  innocent  child  to  slavery  among 
devils,  and,  when  it  has  once  been  uttered,  it  is  irrevocable." 
The  same  authority  states,  however,  that  "infants  which  have 
been  cursed  by  their  mothers  before  their  birth,  or  which  are 
suffocated  during  their  sleep,  or  which  die  from  any  causes 
unchristened  or  christened  by  a  drvmken  priest,  become  the  prey 
of  demons,"  and  in  order  to  rescue  the  soul  of  such  a  babe  from 
the  powers  of  evil  "its  mother  must  spend  three  nights  in  a 
church,  standing  within  a  circle  traced  by  the  hand  of  a  priest ; 
when  the  cocks  crow  on  the  third  morning  the  demons  will  give 
her  back  her  dead  child." 

Fatherly  Affection. 

That  the  father,  as  well  as  the  mother,  feels  for  his  child  after 
death,  and  appears  to  him,  is  an  idea  found  in  fairy-story  and 
legend,  but  nowhere  so  sweetly  expressed  as  in  the  beautiful 
Italian  belief  that  "the  kind,  dear  spirits  of  the  dead  relatives 
and  parents  come  out  of  the  tombs  to  bring  presents  to  the  chil- 
dren of  the  family,  —  whatever  their  little  hearts  most  desire." 
The  proverb,  —  common  at  Aci, —  Veni  m^  patri? — Appressu, 
"  Is  my  father  coming  ?  —  By  and  by,"  used  "  when  an  expected 
friend  makes  himself  long  waited  for,"  is  said  to  have  the 
following  origin :  — 

"  There  was  once  a  little  orphan  boy,  who,  in  his  anxiety  to  see 
his  dead  father  once  again,  went  out  into  the  night  when  the 
kind  spirits  walk,  and,  in  spite  of  all  the  fearful  beating  of  his 
little  heart,  asked  of  every  one  whom  he  met:  Veni  m^patri?  and 
each  one  answered:  Appressu.  As  he  had  the  courage  to  hold 
out  to  the  end,  he  finally  had  the  consolation  of  seeing  his  father 
and  having  from  him  caresses  and  sweetmeats  "  (449.  327). 

Affection  for  Children.  115 

Eev.  Mr.  Gill  speaks  highly  of  the  affection  for  children  of  the 
Polynesians.  Following  is  the  translation  of  a  song  composed 
and  sung  by  Rakoia,  a  warrior  and  chief  of  Mangaia,  in  the 
Hervey  Archipelago,  on  the  death  of  his  eldest  daughter  Enuatau- 
rere,  by  drowning,  at  the  age  of  fifteen  (459.  32)  :  — 

♦'  My  first-born  ;  where  art  thou  ? 
Oh  that  my  wild  grief  for  thee, 
Pet  daughter,  could  be  assuaged  ! 
Snatched  away  in  time  of  peace. 

Thy  delight  was  to  swim, 
Thy  head  encircled  with  flowers, 
Interwoven  with  fragrant  laurel 
And  the  spotted-leaved  jessamine. 

Whither  is  my  pet  gone  — 

She  who  absorbed  all  my  love  — 

She  whom  I  had  hoped 

To  fin  with  ancestral  wisdom  ? 

Red  and  yellow  pandanus  drupes 

Were  sought  out  in  thy  morning  rambles, 

Nor  was  the  sweet-scented  myrtle  forgotten. 

Sometimes  thou  didst  seek  out 
Fugitives  perishing  in  rocks  and  caves. 

Perchance  one  said  to  thee, 
'  Be  mine,  be  mine,  forever  ; 
For  my  love  to  thee  is  great.' 

Happy  the  parent  of  such  a  child  ! 

Alas  for  Enuataurere  !  Alas  for  Enuataurere  I 

Thou  wert  lovely  as  a  fairy  ! 
A  husband  for  Enuataurere  ! 

Each  envious  youth  exclaims  : 
*  Would  that  she  were  mine  I ' 

Enuataurere  now  trips  o'er  the  ruddy  ocean. 
Thy  path  is  the  foaming  crest  of  the  billow. 

Weep  for  Enuataurere  — 
For  Enuataurere." 

116  The  Child  in  Folk-TliGught. 

This  song,  though  published  in  1892,  seems  to  have  been  com- 
posed about  the  year  1815,  at  a  f^te  in  honour  of  the  deceased. 
Mr.  Gill  justly  calls  attention  to  the  beauty  of  the  last  stanza 
but  one,  where  "  the  spirit  of  the  girl  is  believed  to  follow  the 
sun,  tripping  lightly  over  the  crest  of  the  billows,  and  sinking 
with  the  sun  into  the  underworld  (Avaiki),  the  home  of  disem- 
bodied spirits." 

Among  others  of  the  lower  races  of  men,  we  find  the  father, 
expressing  his  grief  at  the  loss  of  a  child,  as  tenderly  and  as 
sincerely  as,  if  less  poetically  than,  the  Polynesian  chief,  though 
often  the  daughter  is  not  so  well  honoured  in  death  as  is  the  son. 
Our  American  Indian  tribes  furnish  not  a  few  instances  of  such 
affectionate  lamentation. 

Much  too  little  has  been  made  of  the  bright  side  of  child-life 
among  the  lower  races.  But  from  even  the  most  primitive  of 
tribes  all  traces  of  the  golden  age  of  childhood  are  not  absent. 
Powers,  speaking  of  the  Yurok  Indians  of  California,  notes  "  the 
happy  cackle  of  brown  babies  tumbling  on  their  heads  with  the 
puppies  "  (519.  51),  and  of  the  Wintun,  in  the  wild-clover  season, 
"their  little  ones  frolicked  and  tumbled  on  their  heads  in  the 
soft  sunshine,  or  cropped  the  clover  on  all-fours  like  a  tender 
calf"  (519.  231).  Of  the  Pawnee  Indians,  Irving  says  (478.  214) : 
"In  the  farther  part  of  the  building  about  a  dozen  naked  chil- 
dren, with  faces  almost  hid  by  their  tangled  hair,  were  rolling 
and  wrestling  upon  the  floor,  occasionally  causing  the  lodge  to 
re-echo  with  their  childish  glee."  Mr.  im  Thurn,  while  among 
the  Indians  of  Guiana,  had  his  attention  "  especially  attracted  by 
one  merry  little  fellow  of  about  five  years  old,  whom  I  first  saw 
squatting,  as  on  the  top  of  a  hill,  on  top  of  a  turtle-shell  twice 
as  big  as  himself,  with  his  knees  drawn  up  to  his  chin,  and 
solemnly  smoking  a  long  bark  cigarette  "  (477.  39).  Of  the  wild 
Indians  of  the  West,  Colonel  Dodge  tells  us :  "  The  little  chil- 
dren are  much  petted  and  spoiled ;  tumbling  and  climbing,  unre- 
proved,  over  the  father  and  his  visitors  in  the  lodge,  and  never 
seem  to  be  an  annoyance  or  in  the  way "  (432.  189).  Mr.  Mac- 
Cauley,  who  visited  the  Seminole  Indians  of  Florida,  says :  "  I 
remember  seeing,  one  day,  one  jolly  little  fellow,  lolling  and  rol- 
licking on  his  mother's  back,  kicking  her  and  tugging  away  at 
the  strings  of  beads  which  hung  temptingly  between  her  shoulders, 

Affection  for  Children.  117 

wMle  the  mother,  hand-free,  bore  on  one  shoulder  a  log,  which,  a 
moment  afterwards,  still  keeping  her  baby  on  her  back  as  she 
did  so,  she  chopped  into  small  wood  for  the  camp-fire  "  (496.  498). 
There  is  a  Ziini  story  of  a  yoiing  maiden,  "  who,  strolling  along, 
saw  a  beautiful  little  baby  boy  bathing  in  the  waters  of  a  spring; 
she  was  so  pleased  with  his  beauty  that  she  took  him  home,  and 
told  her  mother  that  she  had  found  a  lovely  little  boy"  (358. 
544).     Unfortunately,  it  turned  out  to  be  a  serpent  in  the  end- 


As  Darwin  and  other  authorities  have  remarked,  there  are  races 
of  men  upon  the  face  of  the  earth,  in  America,  in  Africa,  in  Asia, 
and  in  the  Island  world,  who,  when  first  seen  of  white  discoverers, 
knew  not  what  it  meant  to  kiss  (499.  139).  The  following  state- 
ment will  serve  for  others  than  the  people  to  whom  it  refers : 
"The  only  kiss  of  which  the  Annamite  woman  is  cognizant  is 
to  place  her  nose  against  the  man's  cheek,  and  to  rub  it  gently 
up  and  down,  with  a  kind  of  canine  sniff." 

Mantegazza  tells  us"  that  Kaden-Saleh,  a  "noble  and  intelli- 
gent "  Javanese  painter,  told  him  that,  "  like  all  Malays,  he  con- 
sidered there  was  more  tenderness  in  the  contact  of  the  noses 
than  of  the  lips,"  and  even  the  Japanese,  the  English  of  the 
extreme  Orient,  were  once  ignorant  of  the  art  of  kissing  (499. 

Great  indeed  is  the  gulf  between  the  Javanese  artist  and  the 
American,  Benjamin  West,  who  said :  "  A  kiss  from  my  mother 
made  me  a  painter."  To  a  kiss  from  the  Virgin  Mother  of  Christ, 
legend  says,  St.  Chrysostom  owed  his  "golden  mouth."  The 
story  rvms  thus :  "  St.  Chrysostom  was  a  dull  boy  at  school,  and 
so  disturbed  was  he  by  the  ridicule  of  his  fellows,  that  he  went 
into  a  church  to  pray  for  help  to  the  Virgin.  A  voice  came  from 
the  image :  *  Kiss  me  on  the  mouth,  and  thou  shalt  be  endowed 
with  all  learning.*  He  did  this,  and  when  he  returned  to  his 
schoolfellows  they  saw  a  golden  circle  about  his  mouth,  and  his 
eloquence  and  brilliancy  astounded  them  "  (347.  621). 

Among  the  natives  of  the  Andaman  Islands,  ]Mr.  Man  informs 
us,  "Kisses  are  considered  indicative  of  affection,  but  are  only 
bestowed  upon  infants  "  (498.  79). 

118  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 


"  Tears,  idle  tears,  I  know  not  what  they  mean, 
Tears  from  the  depths  of  some  divine  despair, 
Rise  in  the  heart  and  gather  to  the  eyes, 
In  looking  at  the  happy  autumn  fields, 
And  thinking  of  the  days  that  are  no  more." 

Thus  sang  the  great  English  laureate,  and  to  the  simple  folk 
—  the  treasure-keepers  of  the  lore  of  the  ages  —  his  words  mean 

Pliny,  the  Elder,  in  his  Natural  History,  makes  this  statement : 
"  Man  alone  at  the  very  moment  of  his  birth,  cast  naked  upon  the 
naked  earth,  does  she  [Nature]  abandon  to  cries  and  lamenta- 
tions ; "  the  writer  of  the  Wisdom  of  Solomon,  in  the  Apocrypha, 
expresses  himself  in  like  manner :  "  When  I  was  born,  I  drew  in 
the  common  air,  and  fell  upon  the  earth,  which  is  of  like  nature, 
and  the  first  voice  I  uttered  was  crying,  as  all  others  do."  Burton, 
in  his  Anatomy  of  Melancholy,  bluntly  resumes  both :  "  He  is  born 
naked,  and  falls  arwhining  at  the  first." 

The  Spaniards  have  a  proverb,  brusque  and  cynical :  — 

"Des  que  nacl  Uor^,  y  cada  dia  nace  porqu^. 
[I  wept  as  soon  as  I  was  born,  and  every  day  explains  why.]" 

A  quaint  legend  of  the  Jewish  Eabbis,  however,  accounts  for 
children's  tears  in  this  fashion :  — 

"  Beside  the  child  unborn  stand  two  angels,  who  not  only  teach 
it  the  whole  Tora  [the  traditional  interpretation  of  the  Mosaic 
law],  but  also  let  it  see  all  the  joys  of  Paradise  and  all  the  tor- 
ments of  Hell.  But,  since  it  may  not  be  that  a  child  should  come 
into  the  world  endowed  with  such  knowledge,  ere  it  is  born  into 
the  life  of  men  an  angel  strikes  it  on  the  upper  lip,  and  all  wisdom 
vanishes.  The  dimple  on  the  upper  lip  is  the  mark  of  the  stroke, 
and  this  is  why  new-born  babes  cry  and  weep  "  (385.  6). 

Curiously  enoiigh,  as  if  to  emphasize  the  relativity  of  folk- 
explanations,  a  Mussulman  legend  states  that  it  is  "  the  touch  of 
Satan  "  that  renders  the  child  "  susceptible  of  sin  from  its  birth," 
and  that  is  the  reason  why  "  all  children  cry  aloud  when  they  are 
born"  (547.249). 

Henderson  tells  us  that  in  the  north  and  south  of  England 

Affection  for  Children.  119 

"  nurses  think  it  lucky  for  the  child  to  cry  at  its  baptism  •,  they 
say  that  otherwise  the  baby  shows  that  it  is  too  good  to  live." 
But  there  are  those  also  who  believe  that  "  this  cry  betokens  the 
pangs  of  the  new  birth,"  while  others  hold  that  it  is  "  the  voice 
of  the  Evil  Spirit  as  he  is  driven  out  by  the  baptismal  water " 
(469.  16). 

Among  the  untaught  peasantry  of  Sicily,  the  sweet  story  goes 
that  "  Mary  sends  an  angel  from  Heaven  one  day  every  week  to 
play  with  the  souls  of  the  unbaptized  children  [in  hell];  and 
when  he  goes  away,  he  takes  with  him,  in  a  golden  chalice,  all  the 
tears  which  the  little  innocents  have  shed  all  through  the  week, 
and  pours  them  into  the  sea,  where  they  become  pearls "  (449. 

Here  again  we  have  a  borrowing  from  an  older  myth.  An 
Eastern  legend  has  it  that  when  Eden  was  lost.  Eve,  the  mother 
of  all  men,  wept  bitterly,  and  "  her  tears,  which  flowed  into  the 
ocean,  were  changed  into  costly  pearls,  while  those  which  fell  on 
the  earth  brought  forth  all  beautiful  flowers  "  (547.  34).  In  the 
classic  myth,  the  pearl  is  said  to  have  been  born  of  the  t^ars  of 
Venus,  just  as  a  Greek  legend  makes  ijXeKTpov  come  from  the  tears 
of  the  sisters  of  Phaethon,  the  daughters  of  the  sun,  and  Teutonic 
story  turns  the  tears  of  the  goddess  Freyja  into  drops  of  gold 
(462.  III.  1218). 

In  the  Kalevala  we  read  how,  after  the  wonderful  harping  of 
Wainamoinen,  the  great  Finnish  hero,  which  enchanted  beasts, 
birds,  and  even  fishes,  was  over,  the  musician  shed  tears  of  grati- 
tude, and  these,  trickling  down  his  body  and  through  his  many 
garments,  were  transmuted  into  pearls  of  the  sea. 

Shakespeare,  in  King  Henry  V.,  makes  Exeter  say  to  the 

"But  all  my  mother  came  into  mine  eyes, 
And  gave  me  up  to  tears,"  — 

and  the  tears  of  the  mother-god  figures  in  the  folk-lore  of  many 
lands.  The  vervain,  or  verbena,  was  known  as  the  "Tears  of 
Isis,"  as  well  as  the  "  Tears  of  Juno,"  —  a  name  given  also  to  an 
East  Indian  grass  {Coix  lacryma).  The  lily  of  the  valley,  in 
various  parts  of  Europe,  is  called  "  The  Virgin's  Tears,"  "  Tears 
of  Our  Lady,"  "  Tears  of  St.  Mary."  Zmigrodzki  notes  the  fol- 
lowing belief  as  current  in  Germany  :    "  If  the  mother  weeps  too 

120  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

much,  her  dead  child  comes  to  her  at  night,  naked  and  trembling, 
with  its  little  shirt  in  its  hand,  and  says :  *  Ah,  dearest  mother, 
do  not  weep  !  See !  I  have  no  rest  in  the  grave ;  I  cannot  put 
on  my  little  shirt,  it  is  all  wet  with  your  tears.' "  In  Cracow,  the 
common  saying  is,  "  God  forbid  that  the  tears  of  the  mother  should 
fall  upon  the  corpse  of  her  child."  In  Brittany  the  folk-belief  is 
that  "  the  dead  child  has  to  carry  water  up  a  hill  in  a  little  bucket, 
and  the  tears  of  the  mother  increase  its  weight "  (174.  141). 

The  Greeks  fabled  Eos,  the  dawn-goddess,  to  have  been  so  dis- 
consolate at  the  death  of  Memnon,  her  son,  that  she  wept  for  him 
every  morning,  and  her  tears  are  the  dewdrops  found  upon  the 
earth.  In  the  mythology  of  the  Samoans  of  the  Pacific,  the 
Heaven-god,  father  of  all  things,  and  the  Earth-goddess,  mother 
of  all  things,  once  held  each  other  in  firm  embrace,  but  were 
separated  in  the  long  ago.  Heaven,  however,  retains  his  love 
for  earth,  and,  mourning  for  her  through  the  long  nights,  he  drops 
many  tears  upon  her  bosom,  —  these,  men  call  dewdrops.  The 
natives  of  Tahiti  have  a  like  explanation  for  the  thick-falling 
rain-drops  that  dimple  the  surface  of  the  ocean,  heralding  an 
approaching  storm,  —  they  are  tears  of  the  heaven-god.  The 
saying  is:  — 

"  Thickly  falls  the  small  rain  on  the  face  of  the  sea, 
They  are  not  drops  of  rain,  but  they  are  tears  of  Oro." 

(Tylor,  Early  Hist,  of  Mankind,  p.  334.) 

An  Indian  tribe  of  California  believe  that  "the  rain  is  the 
falling  tears  of  Indians  sick  in  heaven,"  and  they  say  that  it  was 
"the  tears  of  all  mankind,  weeping  for  the  loss  of  a  good  young 
Indian,"  that  caused  the  deluge,  in  which  all  were  drowned  save 
a  single  couple  (440.  488). 

Oriental  legend  relates,  that,  in  his  utter  loneliness  after  the 
expulsion  from  Paradise,  "Adam  shed  such  an  abundance  of 
tears  that  all  beasts  and  birds  satisfied  their  thirst  therewith; 
but  some  of  them  sunk  into  the  earth,  and,  as  they  still  con- 
tained some  of  the  juices  of  his  food  in  Paradise,  produced  the 
most  fragrant  trees  and  spices."  We  are  further  told  that  "  the 
tears  flowed  at  last  in' such  torrents  from  Adam's  eyes,  that  those 
of  his  right  started  the  Euphrates,  while  those  of  his  left  set  the 
Tigris  in  motion  "  (547.  34). 

Affection  for  Children.  121 

These  are  some  of  the  answers  of  the  folk  to  the  question  of 

Shakespeare :  — 

"  What's  the  matter, 
That  this  distempered  messenger  of  wet, 
The  many-coloured  Iris,  rounds  thine  eye  ?" 

And  many  more  are  there  that  run  along  the  lines  of  Scott's 
epigrammatic  summation :  — 

•'  A  child  will  weep  a  bramble's  smart, 
A  maid  to  see  her  sparrow  part, 
A  stripling  for  a  woman's  heart: 
But  woe  betide  a  coimtry,  when 
She  sees  the  tears  of  bearded  men." 


According  to  Mr.  Powers :  "  The  conspicuous  painstaking  which 
the  Modok  squaw  expends  upon  her  baby-basket  is  an  index  of 
her  maternal  love.  And  indeed  the  Modok  are  strongly  attached 
to  their  offspring,  —  a  fact  abundantly  attested  by  many  sad  and 
mournful  spectacles  witnessed  in  the  closing  scenes  of  the  war 
of  1873.  On  the  other  hand,  a  California  squaw  often  carelessly 
sets  her  baby  in  a  deep,  conical  basket,  the  same  in  which  she 
carries  her  household  effects,  leaving  him  loose  and  liable  to 
fall  out.  If  she  makes  a  baby-basket,  it  is  totally  devoid  of 
ornament ;  and  one  tribe,  the  Miwok,  contemptuously  call  it  •'  the 
dog's  nest.'  It  is  among  Indians  like  these  ihat  we  hear  of 
infanticide"  (519.  257). 

The  subject  of  children's  cradles,  baby-baskets,  baby-boards, 
and  the  methods  of  manipulating  and  carrying  the  infant  in 
connection  therewith,  have  been  treated  of  in  great  detail  by 
Ploss  (325),  Pokrovski,  and  Mason  (306),  the  second  of  whom 
has  written  especially  of  the  cradles  in  use  among  the  various 
peoples  of  European  and  Asiatic  Russia,  with  a  general  view  of 
those  employed  by  other  races,  the  last  with  particular  reference 
to  the  American  aborigines.  The  work  is  illustrated,  as  is  also 
that  of  Ploss,  with  many  engravings.  Professor  Mason  thus 
briefly  sums  up  the  various  purposes  which  the  different  species 
of  cradle  subserve  (306.  161-162)  :  — 

"  (1)   It  is  a  mere  nest  for  the  helpless  infant. 

122  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

"  (2)  It  is  a  bed  so  constructed  and  manipulated  as  to  enable 
the  child  to  sleep  either  in  a  vertical  or  a  horizontal  position. 

"  (3)  It  is  a  vehicle  in  which  the  child  is  to  be  transported, 
chiefly  on  the  mother's  back  by  means  of  a  strap  over  the  fore- 
head, but  frequently  dangling  like  a  bundle  at  the  saddle-bow. 
This  function,  of  course,  ahvays  modifies  the  structure  of  the 
cradle,  and,  indeed,  may  have  determined  its  very  existence 
among  nomadic  tribes. 

"  (4)  It  is  indeed  a  cradle,  to  be  hung  upon  the  limbs  to  rock, 
answering  literally  to  the  nursery-rhyme :  — 

'  Rock-a-bye  baby  upon  the  tree-top, 
"When  the  wind  blows  the  cradle  will  rock, 
When  the  bough  bends,  the  cradle  will  fall, 
Down  will  come  baby,  and  cradle,  and  all.' 

"(5)  It  is  also  a  playhouse  and  baby-jumper.  On  many  — 
nearly  all  —  specimens  may  be  seen  dangling  objects  to  evoke  the 
senses,  foot-rests  by  means  of  which  the  little  one  may  exercise 
its  legs,  besides  other  conveniences  anticipatory  of  the  child's 

"  (6)  The  last  set  of  functions  to  which  the  frame  is  devoted 
are  those  relating  to  what  we  may  call  the  graduation  of  infancy, 
when  the  papoose  crawls  out  of  its  chrysalis  little  by  little,  and 
then  abandons  it  altogether.  The  child  is  next  seen  standing 
partly  on  the  mother's  cincture  and  partly  hanging  to  her  neck, 
or  resting  like  a  pig  in  a  poke  within  the  folds  of  her  blanket." 

Professor  Mason  sees  in  the  cradle-board  or  frame  "  the  child 
of  geography  and  of  meteorology,"  and  in  its  use  "a  beautiful 
illustration  of  Bastian's  theory  of  'great  areas.'  "  In  the  frozen 
North,  for  example,  "the  Eskimo  mother  carries  her  infant  in 
the  hood  of  her  parka  whenever  it  is  necessary  to  take  it  abroad. 
If  she  used  a  board  or  a  frame,  the  child  would  perish  with  the 

The  varieties  of  cradles  are  almost  endless.  We  have  the 
y  "hood"  (sometimes  the  "boot")  of  the  Eskimo;  the  birch-bark 
cradle  (or  hammock)  of  several  of  the  northern  tribes  (as  in 
Alaska,  or  Cape  Breton);  the  "moss-bag"  of  the  eastern  Tinne, 
the  use  of  which  has  now  extended  to  the  employes  of  the 
Hudson's  Bay  Company;  the  "trough-cradle"  of   the  Bilqula; 

Affection  for  Children.  123 

the  Chinook  cradle,  with  its  apparatus  for  head-flattening;  the 
trowel-shaped  cradle  of  the  Oregon  coast;  the  wicker-cradle  of 
the  Hupas ;  the  Klamath  cradle  of  wicker  and  rushes ;  the  Porno 
cradle  of  willow  rods  and  wicker-work,  with  rounded  portion  for 
the  child  to  sit  in ;  the  Mohave  cradle,  with  ladder-frame,  having 
a  bed  of  shredded  bark  for  the  child  to  lie  upon;  the  Yaqui 
cradle  of  canes,  with  soft  bosses  for  pillows;  the  Nez  Perce 
cradle-board  with  buckskin  sides,  and  the  Sahaptian,  Ute,  and 
Kootenay  cradles  which  resemble  it;  the  Moki  cradle-frame  of 
coarse  wicker,  with  an  awning ;  the  Xavajo  cradle,  with  wooden 
hood  and  awning  of  dressed  buckskin ;  the  rude  Comanche  cradle, 
made  of  a  single  stiff  piece  of  black-bear  skin;  the  Blackfoot 
cradle  of  lattice-work  and  leather ;  the  shoe-shaped  Sioux  cradle, 
richly  adorned  with  coloured  bead-work ;  the  Iroquois  cradle  (now 
somewhat  modernized),  with  "  the  back  carved  in  flowers  and  birds, 
and  painted  blue,  red,  green,  and  j'ellow."  Among  the  Araucani- 
ans  of  Chili  we  meet  with  a  cradle  which  "  seems  to  be  nothing 
more  than  a  short  ladder,  with  cross-bars,"  to  which  the  child  is 
lashed.  In  the  tropical  regions  and  in  South  America  we  find 
the  habit  of  "carrying  the  children  in  the  shawl  or  sash,  and 
bedding  them  in  the  hammock."  Often,  as  in  various  parts  of 
Africa,  the  woman  herself  forms  the  cradle,  the  child  clinging 
astride  her  neck  or  hips,  with  no  bands  or  attachments  whatever. 
Of  woman  as  carrier  much  may  be  read  in  the  entertaining  and 
instructive  volume  of  Professor  Mason  (113).  The  primitive 
cradle,  bed,  and  carrier,  was  the  mother. 

Father  and  Child. 

With  many  of  the  more  primitive  races,  the  idea  so  tritely  ex- 
pressed in  our  familiar  saying,  "He  is  a  chip  of  the  old  block,"  — 
patris  est  JUius,  "  he  is  the  son  of  his  father,"  —  and  so  beauti- 
fully wrought  out  by  Shakespeare,  — 

"Behold,  my  lords, 
Although  the  print  be  little,  the  whole  matter 
And  copy  of  the  father :  eye,  nose,  lip, 
The  trick  of  his  frown,  his  forehead  ;  nay,  the  valley, 
The  pretty  dimples  of  his  chin  and  cheek ;  his  smiles, 
The  very  mould  and  frame  of  hand,  nail,  finger," 

124  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

has  a  strong  hold,  making  itself  felt  in  a  thousand  ways  and 
fashions.  The  many  rites  and  ceremonies,  ablutions,  fastings, 
abstentions  from  certain  foods  and  drinks,  which  the  husband 
has  to  undergo  and  submit  to  among  certain  more  or  less  unciv- 
ilized peoples,  shortly  before,  or  after,  or  upon,  the  occasion  of 
the  birth  of  a  child,  or  while  his  wife  is  pregnant,  arise,  in  part 
at  least,  from  a  firm  belief  in  the  influence  of  parent  upon  child 
and  the  intimate  sympathy  between  them  even  while  the  latter 
is  yet  unborn.  Of  the  Indians  of  British  Guiana,  Mr.  im  Thurn 
says,  they  believe  that  if  the  father  should  eat  the  flesh  of  the 
capybara,  the  child  would  have  large  protruding  teeth  like  that 
animal,  while  if  he  should  eat  that  of  the  labba,  the  child's  skin 
would  be  spotted.  "  Apparently  there  is  also  some  idea  that  for 
the  father  to  eat  strong  food,  to  wash,  to  smoke,  to  handle  weapons, 
would  have  the  same  result  as  if  the  new-born  baby  ate  such  food, 
washed,  smoked,  or  played  with  edged  tools."  The  connection 
between  the  father  and  the  child,  the  author  thinks,  is  thought 
by  these  Indians  to  be  much  closer  than  that  existing  between 
the  mother  and  her  offspring  (477.  218).  Much  has  been  written 
about,  and  many  explanations  suggested  for,  this  ancient  and 
widespread  custom.  The  investigations  of  recent  travellers  seem 
to  have  cast  some  light  upon  this  difficult  problem  in  ethnology. 

Dr.  Karl  von  den  Steinen  (536.  331-337)  tells  us  that  the 
native  tribes  of  Central  Brazil  not  only  believe  that  the  child  is 
"  the  son  of  the  father,"  but  that  it  is  the  father.  To  quote  his 
own  significant  words :  "  The  father  is  the  patient  in  so  far  as  he 
feels  himself  one  with  the  new-born  child.  It  is  not  very  diffi- 
cult to  see  how  he  arrives  at  this  conclusion.  Of  the  human  egg- 
cell  and  the  Graafian  follicle  the  aborigine  is  not  likely  to  know 
anything,  nor  can  he  know  that  the  mother  lodges  the  thing 
corresponding  to  the  eggs  of  birds.  For  him  the  man  is  the 
bearer  of  the  eggs,  which,  to  speak  plainly  and  clearly,  lays 
in  the  mother,  and  which  she  hatches  during  the  period  of  preg- 
nancy. In  the  linguistic  material  at  hand  we  see  how  this  very 
natural  attempt  to  explain  generation  finds  expression  in  the 
words  for  '  father,'  '  testicle,'  and  '  egg.'  In  Guarani  tub  means 
'father,  spawn,  eggs,'  tupid  'eggs,'  and  even  tup-i,  the  name  of 
the  people  (the  -i  is  diminutive)  really  signifies  'little  father,' 
or  '  eggs/  or  '  children/  as  you  please ;  the  '  father '  is  '  egg/  and 

Affection  for  Children.  125 

tlie  '  child '  is '  the  little  father.'  Even  the  language  declares  that 
the  '  child '  is  nothing  else  than  the  '  father.'  Among  the  Tupi  the 
father  was  also  accustomed  to  take  a  new  name  after  the  birth  of 
each  new  son ;  to  explain  this,  it  is  in  no  way  necessary  to  assume 
that  the  *  soul '  of  the  father  proceeds  each  time  into  the  son. 
In  Karaibi  we  find  exactly  the  same  idea ;  imu  is  '  eg^,^  or  '  testi- 
cles,' or  '  child.' " 

Among  other  cognate  tribes  we  find  the  same  thoughts :  — 

In  the  Ipurucoto  language  imu  signifies  " egg" 

In  the  Bakairi  language  imu  signifies  "  testicles." 

In  the  Tamanako  language  im,u  signifies  "  father." 

In  the  Makusi  language  imu  signifies  "  semen." 

In  several  dialects  imu-ru  signifies  "  child." 

Dr.  von  den  Steinen  further  observes :  "  Among  the  Bakairi 
'child'  and  'small'  are  both  men,  'the  child  of  the  chief,' 
pima  imeri;  we  can  translate  as  we  please,  either  'the  child  of 
the  chief,'  or  '  the  little  chief,'  and  in  the  case  of  the  latter  form, 
which  we  can  use  more  in  jest  of  the  son,  we  are  not  aware  that 
to  the  Indian  the  child  is  really  nothing  more  than  the  little 
chief,  the  miniature  of  the  big  one.  Strange  and  hardly  intelli- 
gible to  us  is  this  idea  when  it  is  a  girl  that  is  in  question.  For 
the  girl,  too,  is  'the  little  fcUher,^  and  not  'the  little  mother' ; 
it  is  only  the  father  who  has  made  her.  In  Bakairi  there  are 
no  special  words  for  'son'  and  'daughter,'  but  a  sex-suffix  is 
added  to  the  word  for  child  when  a  distinction  is  necessary ; 
pima  imeri  may  signify  either  the  son  or  the  daughter  of  the 
chief.  The  only  daughter  of  the  chief  is  the  inheritrix  of  pos- 
session and  rank,  both  of  which  pass  over  with  her  own  posses- 
sion to  the  husband."  The  whole  question  of  the  "Couvade'* 
and  like  practices  finds  its  solution  in  these  words  of  the  author : 
"The  behaviour  of  the  mother,  according  as  she  is  regarded  as 
more  or  less  suffering,  may  differ  much  with  the  various  tribes, 
while  the  conduct  of  the  father  is  practically  the  same  with  all. 
She  goes  about  her  business,  if  she  feels  strong  enough,  suckles 
her  child,  etc.  Between  the  father  and  the  child  there  is  no 
mysterious  correlation ;  the  child  is  a  multiplication  of  him ;  the 
father  is  duplicated,  and  in  order  that  no  harm  may  come  to  the 
helpless,  irrational  creature,  a  miniature  of  himseK,  he  must  de- 
mean himself  as  a  child  "  (536.  338). 

126  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought 

The  close  relationsliip  between  father  and  child  appears  also 
in  folk-medicine,  where  children  (or  often  adults)  are  preserved 
from,  or  cured  of,  certain  ailments  and  diseases  by  the  applica- 
tion of  blood  drawn  from  the  father. 

In  Bavaria  a  popular  remedy  against  cramps  consisted  in  "  the 
father  pricking  himself  in  the  finger  and  giving  the  child  in  its 
mouth  three  drops  of  blood  out  of  the  wound,"  and  at  Eackow, 
in  Neu  Stettin,  to  cure  epilepsy  in  little  children,  "the  father 
gives  the  child  three  drops  of  blood  out  of  the  first  joint  of  his 
ring-finger"  (361.  19).  In  Annam,  when  a  physician  cures  a 
small-pox  patient,  it  is  thought  that  the  pocks  pass  over  to  his 
children,  and  among  the  Dieyerie  of  South  Australia,  when  a 
child  has  met  with  an  accident,  "  all  the  relatives  are  beaten  with 
sticks  or  boomerangs  on  the  head  till  the  blood  flows  over  their 
faces.  This  is  believed  to  lessen  the  pain  of  the  child  "  (397.  60, 

Among  some  savage  and  uncivilized  peoples,  the  father  is 
associated  closely  with  the  child  from  the  earliest  days  of  its 
existence.  With  the  Mincopies  of  the  Andaman  Islands,  it  is 
the  father  who,  "  from  the  day  of  its  birth  onwards  presses  the 
skull  and  body  of  the  child  to  give  them  the  proper  form,"  and 
among  the  Macusi  Indians  of  Guiana,  the  father  "  in  early  youth, 
pierces  the  ear-lobe,  the  lower  lip,  and  the  septum  of  the  nose," 
while  with  the  Pampas  Indians  of  the  Argentine,  in  the  third 
year  of  the  child's  life,  the  child's  ears  are  pierced  by  the  father 
in  the  following  fashion :  "  A  horse  has  its  feet  tied  together,  is 
thrown  to  the  ground,  and  held  fast.  The  child  is  then  brought 
out  and  placed  on  the  horse,  while  the  father  bores  its  ears  with 
a  needle  "  (326.  I.  296,  301). 

With  some  primitive  peoples  the  father  evinces  great  affection 
for  his  child.  Concerning  the  natives  of  Australia  whom  he 
visited,  Lumholtz  observes :  "  The  father  may  also  be  good  to  the 
child,  and  he  frequently  carries  it,  takes  it  in  his  lap,  pats  it, 
searches  its  hair,  plays  with  it,  and  makes  little  boomerangs 
which  he  teaches  it  to  throw.  He,  however,  prefers  boys  to  girls, 
and  does  not  pay  much  attention  to  the  latter  "  (495. 193).  Speak- 
ing of  another  region  of  the  world  where  infanticide  prevailed,  — 
the  Solomon  Islands,  —  Mr.  Guppy  cites  not  a  few  instances  of 
parental  regard  and  affection.     On  one  occasion  "  the  chief's  son, 

Affection  for  Children.  127 

a  little  shapeless  mass  of  flesh,  a  few  montlis  old,  was  handed 
about  from  man  to  man  with  as  much  care  as  if  he  had  been  com- 
posed of  something  brittle."  Of  chief  Gorai  and  his  wife,  whose 
child  was  blind,  the  author  says :  "  I  was  much  struck  with  the 
tenderness  displayed  in  the  manner  of  both  the  parents  towards 
their  little  son,  who,  seated  in  his  mother's  lap,  placed  his  hand 
in  that  of  his  father,  when  he  was  directed  to  raise  his  eyes 
towards  the  light  for  my  inspection  "  (466.  47). 

Of  the  Patwin  Indians  of  California,  who  are  said  to  rank 
among  the  lowest  of  the  race,  Mr.  Powers  tells  us :  "  Parents  are 
very  easygoing  with  their  children,  and  never  systematically 
punish  them,  though  they  sometimes  strike  them  in  momentary 
anger.  On  the  Sacramento  they  teach  them  how  to  swim  when  a 
few  weeks  old  by  holding  them  on  their  hands  in  the  water.  I 
have  seen  a  father  coddle  and  teeter  his  baby  in  an  attack  of  cross- 
ness for  an  hour  with  the  greatest  patience,  then  carry  him  down 
to  the  river,  laughing  good-naturedly,  gently  dip  the  little  brown 
smooth-skinned  nugget  in  the  waves  clear  imder,  and  then  lay  him 
on  the  moist,  warm  sand.  The  treatment  was  no  less  effectual 
than  harmless,  for  it  stopped  the  perverse,  persistent  squalling  at 
once  "  (519.  222).  Such  demonstrations  of  tenderness  have  been 
supposed  to  be  rare  among  the  Indians,  but  the  same  authority 
says  again :  "  Many  is  the  Indian  I  have  seen  tending  the  baby 
with  far  more  patience  and  good-nature  than  a  civilized  father 
would  display"  (519.  23).  Concerning  the  Eskimo,  Eeclus  ob- 
serves :  "  All  over  Esquimaux  Land  fathers  and  mothers  vie  with 
one  another  in  spoiling  their  offspring,  never  strike,  and  rarely 
rebuke  them"  (523.37). 

Among  the  Indians  of  British  Guiana,  according  to  Mr.  im 
Thurn,  both  mother  and  father  are  "  very  affectionate  towards 
the  young  child."  The  mother  "  almost  always,  even  when  work- 
ing, carries  it  against  her  hip,  slung  in  a  small  hammock  from 
her  neck  or  shoulder,"  while  the  father,  "  when  he  returns  from 
hunting,  brings  it  strange  seeds  to  play  with,  and  makes  it  neck- 
laces and  other  ornaments."  The  young  children  themselves 
"  seem  fully  to  reciprocate  the  affection  of  their  parents ;  but  as 
they  grow  older,  the  affection  on  both  sides  seems  to  cool,  though, 
in  reality,  it  perhaps  only  becomes  less  demonstrative"  (477. 

128  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

Everywhere  we  find  evidence  of  parental  affection  and  love  for 
children,  shining  sometimes  from  the  depths  of  savagery  and  fill- 
ing with  sunshine  at  least  a  few  hours  of  days  that  seem  so  sombre 
and  full  of  gloom  when  viewed  afar  off. 

Mr.  Scudder  has  treated  at  considerable  length  the  subject  of 
"Childhood  in  Literature  and  Art"  (350),  dealing  with  it  as 
found  in  Greek,  Eoman,  Hebrew,  Early  Christian,  English, 
French,  German,  American,  literature,  in  medieeval  art,  and  in 
Hans  Christian  Andersen's  fairy  tales.  Of  Greek  the  author  ob- 
serves: "There  is  scarcely  a  child's  voice  to  be  heard  in  the 
whole  range  of  Greek  poetic  art.  The  conception  is  universally 
of  the  child,  not  as  acting,  far  less  as  speaking,  but  as  a  passive 
member  of  the  social  order.  It  is  not  its  individual  so  much  as 
its  related  life  which  is  contemplated."  The  silent  presence  of 
children  in  the  roles  of  the  Greek  drama  is  very  impressive  (350. 
21).  At  Rome,  though  childhood  is  more  of  a  "  vital  force  "  than 
in  Greece,  yet  "  it  is  not  contemplated  as  a  fine  revelation  of  na- 
ture." Sometimes,  in  its  brutal  aspects,  "  children  are  reckoned 
as  scarcely  more  than  cubs,"  yet  with  refinement  they  "  come  to 
represent  the  more  spiritual  side  of  the  family  life."  The  folk- 
tale of  Romulus  and  Remus  and  Catullus'  picture  of  the  young 
Torquatus  represent  these  two  poles  (350.  32).  The  scant  appear- 
ances of  children  in  the  Old  Testament,  the  constant  prominence 
given  to  the  male  succession,  are  followed  later  on  by  the  promise 
which  buds  and  flowers  in  the  world-child  Jesus,  and  the  child- 
hood which  is  the  new-birth,  the  golden  age  of  which  Jewish  seers 
and  prophets  had  dreamt.  In  early  Christianity,  it  would  appear 
that,  with  the  exception  of  the  representation  in  art  of  the  child, 
the  infant  Christ,  "  childhood  as  an  image  had  largely  faded  out 
of  art  and  literature"  (350.  80).  The  Renaissance  "turned  its 
face  toward  childhood,  and  looked  into  that  image  for  the  pro- 
foundest  realization  of  its  hopes  and  dreams  "  (350.  102),  and  since 
then  Christianity  has  followed  that  path.  And  the  folk  were 
walking  in  these  various  ages  and  among  these  different  peoples 
humbly  along  the  same  road,  which  their  geniuses  travelled.  Of 
the  great  modern  writers  and  poets,  the  author  notes  especially 
Wordsworth,  through  whom  the  child  was  really  born  in  our 
literature,  the  linker  together  of  the  child  and  the  race ;  Rous- 
seau, who  told  of  childhood  as  "  refuge  from  present  evil,  a  mourn- 

Affection  for  Children.  129 

ful  reminiscence  of  a  lost  Paradise,  who  (like  St.  Pierre)  preached 
a  retxirn  to  nature,  and  left  his  own  offspring  to  the  tender  mercy 
of  a  foundling  asylum  " ;  Luther,  the  great  religious  reformer,  who 
was  ever  "  a  father  among  his  children  " ;  Goethe,  who  represents 
German  intellectualism,  yet  a  great  child-artist;  Froebel,  the 
patron  saint  of  the  kindergarten ;  Hans  Andersen,  the  "  inventor  " 
of  fairy-tales,  and  the  transformer  of  folk-stories,  that  rival  the 
genuine,  untouched,  inedited  article  j  Hawthorne,  the  child-artist 
of  America. 


Childhood  the  Golden  Age. 

Heaven  lies  about  us  in  our  infancy.  —  Wordsworth. 

Die  Kindheit  ist  ein  Augenblick  Gottes.  —  Achim  v.  Amim. 

Wahre  dir  den  Kindersinn, 
Kindheit  bliiht  in  Liebe  bin, 
Kinderzeit  ist  heil'ge  Zeit, 
Heidenkindheit  —  Christenheit.  —  B.  Goltz. 

Happy  those  early  days,  when  I 

Shined  in  my  angel  infancy. — Henry  Vaughan. 

Childhood  shall  be  all  divine.  —  B,  W.  Proctor. 

But  Heaven  is  kind,  and  therefore  all  possess. 

Once  in  their  life,  fair  Eden's  simpleness.  — H.  Coleridge. 

But  to  the  couch  where  childhood  lies, 

A  more  delicious  trance  is  given, 
Lit  up  by  rays  from  seraph  eyes. 

And  glimpses  of  remembered  heaven .  —  W.  M.  Praed. 

O  for  boyhood's  time  of  June, 
Crowding  years  in  one  brief  moon  !  —  Whittier. 

Golden  Age. 

The  Englisli  word  world,  as  the  Anglo-Saxon  weorold,  Icelandic 
verold,  and  Old  High  German  weralt  indicate,  signified  originally 
"  age  of  man,"  or  "  course  of  man's  life,"  and  in  the  mind  of  the 
folk  the  life  of  the  world  and  the  life  of  man  have  run  about  the 
same  course.  By  common  consent  the  golden  age  of  both  was  at 
the  beginning,  ab  ovo.  With  Wordsworth,  unlettered  thousands 
have  thought :  — 

"  Bliss  was  it  in  that  dawn  to  be  alive, 
But  to  be  young  was  very  heaven ! " 

The  Golden  Age.  131 

Die  Kindheit  ist  ein  Aitgenblick  Gottes,  "  childliood  is  a  moment 
of  God,"  said  Achim  von  Amim,  and  Hartley  Coleridge  expresses 
the  same  idea  in  other  words :  — 

"  But  Heaven  is  kind,  and  therefore  all  possess, 
Once  in  their  life,  fair  Eden's  simpleness." 

This  belief  in  the  golden  age  of  childhood,  —  die  heilige  Kinder- 
zeit,  the  heaven  of  infancy,  —  is  ancient  and  modern,  world-wide, 
shared  in  alike  by  primitive  savage  and  nineteenth-century  phi- 
losopher. The  peasant  of  Brittany  thinks  that  children  preserve 
their  primal  purity  up  to  the  seventh  year  of  their  age,  and,  if 
they  die  before  then,  go  straight  to  heaven  (174.  141),  and  the 
great  Chinese  philosopher,  linking  together,  as  others  have  done 
since  his  time,  the  genius  and  the  child,  declared  that  a  man  is 
great  only  as  he  preserves  the  pure  ideas  of  his  childhood,  while 
Coleridge,  in  like  fashion  tells  us :  *■'  Genius  is  the  power  of  carry- . 
ing  the  feelings  of  childhood  into  the  power  of  manhood." 

Everywhere  we  hear  the  same  refrain :  — 

"  Aus  der  Jugendzeit,  aus  der  Jugendzeit, 
Hingt  ein  Lied  immerdar ; 
O  wie  liegt  so  weit,  o  -wie  liegt  so  weit, 
"Was  mein  einst  war ! " 

The  Paradise  that  man  lost,  the  Eden  from  which  he  has  been, 
driven,  is  not  the  God-planted  Garden  by  the  banks  of  Euphrates, 
but  the  "  happy  days  of  angel  infancy,"  and  "  boyhood's  time  of 
June,"  the  childhood  out  of  which  in  the  fierce  struggle  for  exist- 
ence the  race  has  rudely  grown,  and  back  to  which,  for  its  true 
salvation,  it  must  learn  to  make  its  way  again.  As  he,  who  was 
at  once  genius  and  child,  said,  nearly  twenty  centuries  ago : 
"Except  ye  turn  and  become  as  little  children,  ye  shall  in  no 
wise  enter  the  kingdom  of  heaven." 

When  we  speak  of  "  the  halcyon  days  of  childhood,"  we  recall 
an  ancient  myth,  telling  how,  in  an  age  when  even  more  than 
now  "  all  Kature  loved  a  lover,"  even  the  gods  watched  over  the 
loves  of  Ceyx  and  Halcyone.  Ever  since  the  kingfisher  has  been 
regarded  as  the  emblem  of  lasting  fidelity  in  love.  As  Ebers 
aptly  puts  it :  "  Is  there  anywhere  a  sweeter  legend  than  that  of 

132  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

the  Halcyons,  the  ice-birds  who  love  each  other  so  tenderly  that, 
when  the  male  becomes  enfeebled  by  age,  his  mate  carries  him 
on  her  outspread  wings  whithersoever  he  wills;  and  the  gods 
desiring  to  reward  such  faithful  love  cause  the  sun  to  shine  more 
kindly,  and  still  the  winds  and  waves  on  the  'Halcyon  Days' 
during  which  these  birds  are  building  their  nests  and  brooding 
over  their  young"  (390.  II.  269). 

Of  a  special  paradise  for  infants,  something  has  been  said  else- 
where. Of  Srahmanadzi,  the  other  world,  the  natives  of  Ashanti 
say :  "  There  an  old  man  becomes  young,  a  young  man  a  boy,  and 
a  boy  an  infant.  They  grow  and  become  old.  But  age  does  not 
carry  with  it  any  diminution  of  strength  or  wasting  of  body. 
When  they  reach  the  prime  of  life,  they  remain  so,  and  never 
change  more  "  (438.  157). 

The  Kalmucks  believe  that  some  time  in  the  future  "  each  child 
will  speak  immediately  after  its  birth,  and  the  next  day  be  capable 
of  undertaking  its  own  management"  (518.  I.  427).  But  that 
blissful  day  is  far  off,  and  the  infant  human  still  needs  the  over- 
shadowing of  the  gods  to  usher  him  into  the  real  world  of  life. 

Guardian  Angels  and  Deities. 

Christ,  speaking  his  memorable  words  about  little  children  to 
those  who  had  inquired  who  was  greatest  in  the  kingdom  of 
heaven,  uttered  the  warning:  "See  that  ye  despise  not  one  of 
these  little  ones ;  for  I  say  unto  you,  that  in  heaven  their  angels 
do  always  behold  the  face  of  my  Father  which  is  in  heaven." 
In  the  hagiology  of  the  Christian  churches,  and  in  the  folk-lore 
of  modern  Europe,  the  idea  contained  in  our  familiar  expression 
"  guardian  angel "  has  a  firm  hold ;  by  celestial  watchers  and  pro- 
tectors the  steps  of  the  infant  are  upheld,  and  his  mind  guided, 
until  he  reaches  maturity,  and  even  then  the  guardian  spirit  often 
lingers  to  guide  the  favoured  being  through  all  the  years  of  his 
life  (191.  8).  The  natives  of  Ashanti  believe  that  special  spirits 
watch  over  girls  until  they  are  married,  and  in  China  there  is 
a  special  mother-goddess  who  guards  and  protects  childhood. 

Walter  Savage  Landor  has  said :  — 

•'  Around  the  child  bend  all  the  three 
Sweet  Graces,  — Faith,  Hope,  Charity," 

The  Golden  Age.  133 

and  tlie  "  three  "Fates "  of  classic  antiquity,  the  three  IToms  of 
Scandinavian  mythology,  the  three  Sudiecky  or  fate-goddesses  of 
the  Czechs  of  Bohemia,  the  three  fate-  and  birth-goddesses  of  the 
other  Slavonic  peoples,  the  three  Motpat  of  Modern  Greece,  the 
three  Phatite  of  Albania,  the  three  white  ladies,  three  virgins, 
three  Mary's,  etc.,  of  German  legend  of  to-day,  have  woven  about 
them  a  wealth  of  quaint  and  curious  lore  (326.  I.  42-47). 

The  survival  of  the  old  heathen  belief  alongside  the  Christian 
is  often  seen,  as,  e.g.,  at  Palermo,  in  Sicily,  where  "the  mother, 
when  she  lifts  the  child  out  of  the  cradle,  says  aloud :  *  Nxiome 
di  Dio,  In  God's  name,'  but  quickly  adds  sotto  voce :  '  Cu  licenzi, 
signuri  mid,  By  your  leave,  Ladies.' "  The  reference  is  to  the 
"  three  strange  ladies,"  representing  the  three  Pates,  who  preside 
over  the  destiny  of  human  beings. 

Ploss  has  discussed  at  length  the  goddesses  of  child-birth  and 
infancy,  and  exhibited  their  relations  to  the  growing,  fertilizing, 
regenerative  powers  of  nature,  especially  the  earth,  sun,  moon, 
etc.;  the  Hindu  jB/iava/u*  (moon-goddess) ;  the  Persian  Anahita; 
the  Assyrian  Belit,  the  spouse  of  Bel;  the  Phoenician  Astarte;  the 
Egyptian  Isis;  the  Etruscan  Mater  matuta;  the  Greek  Hera, 
Eileithyia,  Artemis;  the  Eoman  Diana,  Lucina,  Juno;  the  Phry- 
gian Cyhele;  the  Germanic  Freia,  Holla,  Gude,  Harke;  the  Sla- 
vonic Siica,  Lihussa,  Zlata  Bdba  ("  the  golden  woman ") ;  the 
ancient  Mexican  Itzcuinam,  Yohmaltcitl,  Tezistecatl ;  the  Chibchan 
rainbow-goddess  Cuchavira ;  the  Japanese  Kojasi  Kwanon,  and 
hundreds  more. 

The  number  of  gods  and  goddesses  presiding  over  motherhood 
and  childhood  is  legion ;  in  every  land  divine  beings  hover  about 
the  infant  human  to  protect  it  and  assure  the  perpetuity  of  the 
race.  In  ancient  Eome,  besides  the  divinities  who  were  con- 
nected with  generation,  the  embryo,  etc.,  we  find,  among  others, 
the  following  tutelary  deities  of  childhood  :  — 

Parca  or  Partula,  the  goddess  of  child-birth ;  Diespiter,  the  god 
who  brings  the  infant  to  the  light  of  day ;  Opis,  the  divinity  who 
takes  the  infant  from  within  the  bosom  of  mother-earth ;  Vatica- 
nus,  the  god  who  opens  the  child's  mouth  in  crying ;  Cunina,  the 
protectress  of  the  cradle  and  its  contents ;  Rumina,  the  goddess 
of  the  teat  or  breast;  Ossipaga,  the  goddess  who  hardens  and 
solidifies  the  bones  of  little  children;  Cama,  the  goddess  who 

134  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

strengthens  the  flesh  of  little  children ;  Diva  patina,  the  goddess 
of  the  drink  of  children ;  Diva  edusa,  the  goddess  of  the  food  of 
children;  Cuba,  the  goddess  of  the  sleep  of  the  child;  Levana, 
the  goddess  who  lifts  the  child  from  the  earth ;  Statanus,  the  god, 
and  Dea  Statina,  the  goddess,  of  the  child's  standing ;  Fabulinus, 
the  god  of  the  child's  speech;  Abeona  and  Adiona,  the  protec- 
tresses of  the  child  in  its  goings  out  and  its  comings  in ;  Deus 
catus  pater,  the  father-god  who  "  sharpens  "  the  wits  of  children ; 
Dea  mens,  the  goddess  of  the  child's  mind ;  Minerva,  the  goddess 
who  is  the  giver  of  memory  to  the  child ;  Numeria,  the  goddess 
who  teaches  the  child  to  count ;  Voleta,  the  goddess,  and  Volum- 
nus  the  god,  of  will  or  wishing ;  Venilia,  the  goddess  of  hope,  of 
"  things  to  come  " ;  Deus  conus,  the  god  of  counsel,  the  counsel- 
giver;  Peragenor  or  Agenona,  the  deity  of  the  child's  action; 
Camoena,  the  goddess  who  teaches  the  child  to  sing,- etc.  (398. 188). 
Here  the  child  is  overshadowed,  watched  over,  taught  and 
instructed  by  the  heavenly  powers  :  — 

"But  to  the  couch  where  childhood  lies 
A  more  delicious  trance  is  given, 
Lit  up  by  rays  from  seraph  eyes. 
And  glimpses  of  remembered  heaven." 

In  line  with  the  poet's  thought,  though  of  a  ruder  mould,  is  the 
belief  of  the  Iroquois  Indians  recorded  by  Mrs.  Smith :  "  When 
a  living  nursing  child  is  taken  out  at  night,  the  mother  takes  a 
pinch  of  white  ashes  and  rubs  it  on  the  face  of  the  child  so  that 
the  spirits  will  not  trouble,  because  they  say  that  a  child  still 
continues  to  hold  intercourse  with  the  spirit-world  whence  it  so 
recently  came  "  (534.  69). 


President  Hall  has  treated  of  "The  Contents  of  Children's 
Minds  on  Entering  School"  (252),  but  we  yet  lack  a  like  elabo- 
rate and  suggestive  study  of  "  The  Contents  of  Parents'  Minds 
on  Entering  the  Nursery."  We  owe  to  the  excellent  investigation 
carried  on  by  Principal  Russell  and  his  colleagues  at  the  State 
Normal  School  in  Worcester,  Mass.,  "  Some  Records  of  the 
Thoughts  and  Reasonings  of  Children  "  (194),  and  President  Hall 
has  written  about  "  Children's  Lies  "  (252a),  but  we  are  still  with- 

The  Golden  Age,  135 

out  a  correspondingly  accurate  and  extensive  compilation  of  "  The 
Thoughts  and  Keasonings  of  Parents,"  and  a  plain,  unbiassed 
register  of  the  "  white  lies  ''  and  equivoques,  the  fictions  and 
epigrammatic  myths,  with  which  parents  are  wont  to  answer, 
or  attempt  to  answer,  the  manifold  questions  of  their  tender 
offspring.  From  time  immemorial  the  communication  between 
parent  (and  nurse)  and  child,  between  the  old  of  both  sexes  and 
little  children,  far  from  being  yea  and  nay,  has  been  cast  in  the 
mould  of  the  advice  given  in  the  German  quatrain :  — 

"  Ja  haltet  die  Aequivocabula  nor  fest, 
Sind  sie  doch  das  etnzige  Mittel, 
Dem  Kind  die  "Wahrheit  zu  bei^n  und  doch 
Zu  brauchen  den  richtigen  TiteL" 

["  Hold  fast  to  the  words  that  we  equivoques  call ; 
For  they  are  indeed  the  only  safe  way 
To  keep  from  the  children  the  truth  away. 
Yet  use  the  right  name  after  all."] 

Around  the  birth  of  man  centres  a  great  cycle  of  fiction  and 
myth.  The  folk-lore  respecting  the  provenience  of  children  may 
be  divided  into  two  categories.  The  first  is  represented  by  our 
"  the  doctor  brought  it,"  "  God  sent  it,"  and  the  "  van  Moor "  of 
the  peasantry  of  Xorth  Friesland,  which  may  signify  either  ''  from 
the  moor,"  or  "  from  mother."  The  second  consists  of  renascent 
myths  of  bygone  ages,  distorted,  sometimes,  it  is  true,  and  recast. 
As  men,  in  the  dim,  prehistoric  past,  ascribed  to  their  first  pro- 
genitors a  celestial,  a  terrestrial,  a  subterranean,  a  subaqueous 
origin,  a  coming  into  being  from  animals,  birds,  insects,  trees, 
plants,  rocks,  stones,  etc.,  —  for  all  were  then  akin,  —  so,  after 
long  centuries  have  rolled  by,  father,  mother,  nurse,  older  brother 
or  sister,  speaking  of  the  little  one  in  whom  they  see  their  stock 
renewed,  or  their  kinship  widened,  resurrect  and  regild  the  old 
fables  and  rejuvenate  and  reanimate  the  lore  that  lay  sunk 
beneath  the  threshold  of  racial  consciousness.  Once  more  "  the 
child  is  father  of  the  man " ;  his  course  begins  from  that  same 
spriag  whence  the  first  races  of  men  had  their  remotest  origins. 
George  Macdonald,  in  the  first  lines  of  his  poem  on  "Baby'* 

(337.182):  — 

"  WTiere  did  you  come  from,  baby  dear  ? 
Out  of  the  everyichere  into  here," 

136  The  Child  in  Folk  Thought. 

has  expressed  a  truth  of  folk-lore,  for  there  is  scarcely  a  place  in 
the  "  everywhere  "  whence  the  children  have  not  been  fabled  to 
come.  Children  are  said  to  come  from  heaven  (Germany,  Eng- 
land, America,  etc.) ;  from  the  sea  (Denmark) ;  from  lakes,  ponds, 
rivers  (Germany,  Austria,  Japan) ;  from  moors  and  sand-hills 
(northeastern  Germany) ;  from  gardens  (China) ;  from  under  the 
cabbage-leaves  (Brittany,  Alsace),  or  the  parsley-bed  (England) ; 
from  sacred  or  hollow  trees,  such  as  the  ash,  linden,  beech,  oak, 
etc.  (Germany,  Austria) ;  from  inside  or  from  underneath  rocks 
and  stones  (northeastern  Germany,  Switzerland,  Bohemia,  etc.). 
It  is  worthy  of  note  how  the  topography  of  the  country,  its 
physiographic  character,  affects  these  beliefs,  which  change  with 
hill  and  plain,  with  moor  and  meadow,  seashore  and  inland  dis- 
trict. The  details  of  these  birth-myths  may  be  read  in  Ploss 
(326.  I.  2),  Schell  (343),  Sundermann  (366).  Specially  interesting 
are  the  Kindersee  ("child-lake"),  Kinderhaum  ("child-tree"), 
and  Kinderhrunnen  ("child-fountain")  of  the  Teutonic  lands, — 
offering  analogies  with  the  "  Tree  of  Life "  and  the  "  Fountain 
of  Eternal  Youth"  of  other  ages  and  peoples;  the  Titistein,  or 
"  little  children's  stone,"  and  the  Kindertruog  ("  child's  trough  ") 
of  Switzerland,  and  the  "  stork-stones  "  of  North  Germany. 

Dr.  Haas,  in  his  interesting  little  volume  of  folk-lore  from  the 
island  of  Eligen,  in  the  Baltic,  records  some  curious  tales  about 
the  birth  of  children.  The  following  practice  of  the  children  in 
that  portion  of  Germany  is  significant :  "  Little  white  and  black 
smooth  stones,  found  on  the  shore,  are  called  'stork-stones.' 
These  the  children  are  wont  to  throw  backwards  over  their  heads, 
asking,  at  the  same  time,  the  stork  to  bring  them  a  little  brother 
or  sister  "  (466  a.  144).  This  recalls  vividly  the  old  Greek  deluge- 
myth,  in  which  we  are  told,  that,  after  the  Elood,  Deucalion  was 
ordered  to  cast  behind  him  the  "  bones  of  his  mother."  This  he 
interpreted  to  mean  the  "  stones,"  which  seemed,  as  it  were,  the 
"  bones  "  of  "  mother-earth."  So  he  and  his  wife  Pyrrha  picked  up 
some  stones  from  the  ground  and  cast  them  over  their  shoulders, 
whereupon  those  thrown  by  Deucalion  became  men,  those  thrown 
by  Pyrrha,  women.  Here  belongs,  also,  perhaps,  the  Wallachian 
custom,  mentioned  by  Mr.  Sessions  (who  thinks  it  was  "  probably 
to  keep  evil  spirits  away  "),  in  accordance  with  which  "  when  a 
child  is  born  every  one  present  throws  a  stone  behind  him." 

The  Golden  Age.  137 

On  tlie  island  of  Kilgen  erratic  blocks  on  the  seashore  are 
called- Adeborst€i7ie,  "stork-stones,"  and  on  such  a  rock  or  boulder 
near  Wrek  in  Wittow,  Dr.  Haas  says  "the  stork  is  said  to  dry 
the  little  children,  after  he  has  fetched  them  out  of  the  sea, 
before  he  brings  them  to  the  mothers.  The  latter  point  out  these 
blocks  to  their  little  sons  and  daughters,  telling  them  how  once 
they  were  laid  upon  them  by  the  stork  to  get  dry."  The  great 
blocks  of  granite  that  lie  scattered  on  the  coast  of  Jasmund  are 
termed  Schicansteine,  "swan-stones,"  and,  according  to  nursery- 
legend,  the  children  to  be  born  are  shut  up  in  them.  When  a 
sister  or  brother  asks:  "Where  did  the  little  swan-child ''  —  for 
so  babies  are  called — "come  from?"  the  mother  replies:  "From 
the  swan-stone.  It  was  opened  with  a  key,  and  a  little  swan- 
child  taken  out."  The  term  "swan-child"  is  general  in  this 
region,  and  Dr.  Haas  is  inclined  to  think  that  the  swan-myth  is 
older  than  the  stork-myth  (466  a.  143,  144). 

Curious  indeed  is  the  belief  of  the  Hidatsa  Indians,  as  reported 
by  Dr.  Matthews,  in  the  "  Makadistati,  or  house  of  infants." 
This  is  described  as  "a  cavern  near  Knife  River,  which,  they 
supposed,  extended  far  into  the  earth,  but  whose  entrance  was 
only  a  span  wide.  It  was  resorted  to  by  the  childless  husband 
or  the  barren  wife.  There  are  those  among  them  who  imagine 
that  in  some  way  or  other  their  children  come  from  the  Makadi- 
stati; and  marks  of  contusion  on  an  infant,  arising  from  tight 
swaddling  or  other  causes,  are  gravely  attributed  to  kicks  received 
from  his  former  comrades  when  he  was  ejected  from  his  subterra- 
nean home"  (433.  516). 

In  Hesse,  Germany,  there  is  a  children's  song  (326.  I.  9) :  — 

Bimbam,  Glockcben, 
Da  unten  steht  ein  Stockchen, 
Da  oben  stebt  ein  golden  Haus, 
Da  gucken  viele  scbone  Kinder  rans. 

The  current  belief  in  that  part  of  Europe  is  that  "  unborn  chil- 
dren live  in  a  very  beautiful  dwelling,  for  so  long  as  children 
are  no  year  old  and  have  not  yet  looked  into  a  mirror,  everything 
that  comes  before  their  eyes  appears  to  be  gold."  Here  folk- 
thought  makes  the  beginnings  of  human  life  a  real  golden  age. 
They  are  Midases  of  the  eye,  not  of  the  touch. 

138  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

Children's  Questions  and  Parents'  Answers. 

Another  interesting  class  of  "parents'  lies"  consists  in  the 
replies  to,  or  comments  upon,  the  questionings  and  remarks  of 
children  about  the  ordinary  affairs  of  life.  The  following  ex- 
amples, selected  from  Dirksen's  studies  of  East-Frisian  Proverbs, 
will  serve  to  indicate  the  general  nature  and  extent  of  these. 

1.  When  a  little  child  says,  "  I  am  hungry,"  the  mother  some- 
times answers,  "Eat  some  salt,  and  then  you  will  be  thirsty,  too." 

2.  When  a  child,  seeing  its  mother  drink  tea  or  coffee,  saj^s, 
"  I'm  thirsty,"  the  answer  may  be,  "  If  you're  thirsty,  go  to  Jack 
ter  Host ;  there's  a  cow  in  the  stall,  go  sit  under  it  and  drink." 
Some  of  the  variants  of  this  locution  are  expressed  in  very  coarse 
language  (431.  I.  22). 

3.  If  a  child  asks,  when  it  sees  that  its  parent  is  going  out, 
"  Am  I  not  going,  too  ? "  the  answer  is,  "  You  are  going  along, 
where  nobody  has  gone,  to  Poodle's  wedding,"  or  "  You  are  going 
along  on  Stay-here's  cart."  A  third  locution  is,  "  You  are  going 
along  to  the  Ktlkendell  fair  "  (Kiikendell  being  a  part  of  Meider- 
ich,  where  a  fair  has  never  been  held).  In  Oldenburg  the  answer 
is:  "You  shall  go  along  on  Jack-stay-at-home's  (Janblievtohus) 
cart."  Sometimes  the  child  is  quieted  by  being  told,  "  I'll  bring 
you  back  a  little  silver  nothing  (enn  silwer  Nickske) "  (431. 
I.  33). 

4.  If,  when  he  is  given  a  slice  of  bread,  he  asks  for  a  thinner 
one,  the  mother  may  remark,  "Thick  pieces  make  fat  bodies" 
(431.  I.  35). 

5.  When  some  one  says  in  the  hearing  of  the  father  or  mother 
of  a  child  that  it  ought  not  to  have  a  certain  apple,  a  certain  arti- 
cle of  clothing,  or  the  like,  the  answer  is,  "  That  is  no  illegitimate 
child."  The  locution  is  based  upon  the  fact  that  illegitimate 
children  do  not  enjoy  the  same  rights  and  privileges  as  those 
born  in  wedlock  (431.  I.  42). 

6.  Of  children's  toys  and  playthings  it  is  sometimes  said,  when 
they  are  very  fragile,  "They  will  last  from  twelve  o'clock  till 
midday"  (431.1.43). 

7.  When  any  one  praises  her  child  in  the  presence  of  the 
mother,  the  latter  says,  "It's  a  good  child  when  asleep"  (431. 
I.  51). 

The  Golden  Age.  139 

8.  In  the  winter-time,  when  the  child  asks  its  mother  for  an 
apple,  the  latter  may  reply,  "  the  apples  are  piping  in  the  tree," 
meaning  that  there  are  no  longer  any  apples  on  the  tree,  but  the 
sparrows  are  sitting  there,  crying  and  lamenting.  In  Meiderich 
the  locution  is  "  Apples  have  golden  stems,"  i.e.  they  axe  rare  and 
dear  in  winter-time  (431.  I.  75). 

9.  When  the  child  says,  "  I  can't  sit  down,"  the  mother  may 
remark,  "  Come  and  sit  on  my  thumb ;  nobody  has  ever  fallen  off 
it "  {i.e.  because  no  one  has  ever  tried  to  sit  on  it)  (431.  L  92). 

10.  AVhen  a  lazy  child,  about  to  be  sent  out  upon  an  errand, 
protests  that  it  does  not  know  where  the  person  to  whom  the 
message  is  to  be  sent  lives,  and  consequently  cannot  do  the 
errand,  the  mother  remarks  threateningly,  "I'll  show  where 
Abraham  ground  the  mustard,"  i.e.  "I  give  you  a  good  thrash- 
ing, till  the  tears  come  into  your  eyes  (as  when  grinding  mus- 
tard) "  (431.  I.  105). 

11.  When  a  child  complains  that  a  sister  or  brother  has  done 
something  to  hurt  him,  the  mother's  answer  is,  ''  Look  out !  He 
shall  have  water  in  the  cabbage,  and  go  barefoot  to  bed"  (431. 
I.  106). 

12.  Sometimes  their  parents  or  elders  turn  to  children  and  ask 
them  "  if  they  would  like  to  be  shown  the  Bremen  geese."  K  the 
child  says  yes,  he  is  seized  by  the  ears  and  head  with  both  hands 
and  lifted  off  the  ground.  In  some  parts  of  Germany  this  is 
called  "showing  Rome,"  and  there  are  variants  of  the  practice 
in  other  lands  (431.  II.  14). 

13.  When  a  child  complains  of  a  sore  in  its  eye,  or  on  its  neck, 
the  answer  is :  "  That  will  get  well  before  you  are  a  great-grand- 
mother "  (431.  II.  50). 

14.  When  one  child  asks  for  one  thing  and  another  for  some- 
thing else,  the  mother  exclaims  petulantly,  "  One  calls  out  *  lime,' 
the  other  '  stones.' "  The  reference  is  to  the  confusion  of  tongues 
at  Babel,  which  is  assumed  to  have  been  of  such  a  nature  that 
one  man  would  call  out  "lime,"  and  another  "stones"  (431.  11. 

15.  When  a  child  asks  for  half  a  slice  of  bread  instead  of  a 
whole  one,  the  mother  may  say,  "Who  doesn't  like  a  whole, 
doesn't  like  a  half  either  "  (431.  II.  43). 

16.  When  a  child  says,  "That  is  my  place,  I  sat  there,"  the 

140  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

reply  is,  "  You  have  no  place ;  your  place  is  in  the  churchyard  " 
{i.e.  a  grave)  (431.  II.  76). 

When  the  child  says  "  I  will,"  the  mother  says  threateningly, 
"  Your  '  will '  is  in  your  mother's  pocket."  It  is  in  her  pocket 
that  she  carries  the  rope  for  whipping  the  child.  Another  locu- 
tion is,  "  Your  will  is  in  the  corner  "  (i.e.  the  corner  of  the  room 
in  which  stands  the  broomstick)  (431.  II.  81). 

These  specimens  of  the  interchange  of  courtesies  between  the 
child  and  its  parent  or  nurse  might  be  paralleled  from  our  own 
language ;  indeed,  many  of  the  correspondences  will  suggest 
themselves  at  once.  The  deceits  practised  in  the  Golden  Age 
of  childhood  resemble  those  practised  by  the  gods  in  the  Golden 
Age  of  the  world,  when  divine  beings  walked  the  earth  and  had 
intercourse  with  the  sons  and  daughters  of  men. 

"  Painted  Devils." 

Even  as  the  serpent  marred  the  Eden  of  which  the  sacred 
legends  of  the  Semites  tell,  so  in  the  folk-thought  does  some 
evil  sprite  or  phantom  ever  and  anon  intrude  itself  in  the  Para- 
dise of  childhood  and  seek  its  ruin. 

Shakespeare  has  well  said :  — 

"  'Tis  the  eye  of  childhood 
That  fears  a  painted  devil," 

and  the  chronicle  of  the  "  painted  devils,"  bogies,  scarecrows,  et 
id  genus  omne,  is  a  long  one,  whose  many  chapters  may  be  read  in 
Ploss,  Hartland,  Henderson,  Gregor,  etc.  Some  of  the  "  devils  " 
are  mild  and  almost  gentlemen,  like  their  lord  and  master  at 
times ;  others  are  fierce,  cruel,  and  bloodthirsty ;  their  number  is 
almost  infinite,  and  they  have  the  forms  of  women  as  well  as 
of  men. 

Over  a  large  portion  of  western  Europe  is  found  the  nursery 
story  of  the  "  Sand-Man,"  who  causes  children  to  become  drowsy 
and  sleepy ;  "  the  sand-man  is  coming,  the  sand-man  has  put  dust 
in  your  eyes,"  are  some  of  the  sayings  in  use.  By  and  by  the 
child  gets  "  so  fast  asleep  that  one  eye  does  not  see  the  other,"  as 
the  Frisian  proverb  puts  it.  When,  on  a  cold  winter  day,  her 
little  boy  would  go  out  without  his  warm  mittens  on,  the  East 

The  Golden  Age.  141 

Frisian  mother  says,  vrarningly:  De  Fingerbiter  is  buten,  "the 
Finger-biter  is  outside." 

Among  the  formidable  evil  spirits  who  war  against  or  torment 
the  child  and  its  mother  are  the  Hebrew  Lilith,  the  long-haired 
night-flier;  the  Greek  Strigalai,  old  and  ugly  owl-women;  the 
Eoman  Caprimulgus,  the  nightly  goat-milker  and  child-killer,  and 
the  wood-god  Silvanus;  the  Coptic  Berselia;  the  Hungarian 
"  water-man,"  or  "  water-woman,"  who  changes  children  for  crip- 
ples or  demons;  the  Moravian  Vestice,  or  "wild  woman,"  able 
to  take  the  form  of  any  animal,  who  steals  away  children  at 
the  breast,  and  substitutes  changelings  for  them ;  the  Bohemian 
Polednice,  or  "noon-lady,"  who  roams  around  only  at  noon,  and 
substitutes  changelings  for  real  children;  the  Lithuanian  and 
Old  Prussian  Laume,  a  child-stealer,  whose  breast  is  the  thunder- 
bolt, and  whose  girdle  is  the  rainbow ;  the  Servian  Wjeschtitza,  or 
witches,  who  take  on  the  form  of  an  insect,  and  eat  up  children 
at  night ;  the  Eussian  "  midnight  spirit,"  who  robs  children  of  rest 
and  sleep ;  the  Wendish  "  Old  mountain- woman " ;  the  German 
(Brunswick)  "  corn- woman,"  who  makes  off  -wdth  little  children 
looking  for  flowers  in  the  fields ;  the  Eoggenmuhvie  (  "  rye-aunt  ** ), 
the  Tremsemutter,  who  walks  about  in  the  cornfields ;  the  Katzen- 
veil,  a  wood  spirit,  and  a  score  of  bogies  called  Popel,  Popelmann, 
Popanz,  Butz,  etc. ;  the  Scotch  "Boo  Man,"  "  Bogie  Man,"  "Jenny 
wi'  the  Airn  Teeth,"  "  Jenny  wi'  the  lang  Pock  " ;  the  English  and 
American  bogies,  goblins,  ogres,  ogresses,  witches,  and  the  like ; 
besides,  common  to  all  peoples,  a  host  of  werwolves  and  vampires, 
giants  and  dwarfs,  witches,  ogres,  ogresses,  fairies,  evil  spirits  of 
air,  water,  land,  inimical  to  childhood  and  destructive  of  its  peace 
and  enjoyment.  The  names,  lineage,  and  exploits  of  these  may 
be  read  in  Ploss,  Grimm,  Hartland,  etc. 

In  the  time  of  the  Crusades,  Eichard  Coeur  de  Lion,  the  hero- 
king  of  England,  became  so  renowned  among  the  Saracens  that 
(Gibbon  informs  us)  his  name  was  used  by  mothers  and  nurses  to 
quiet  their  infants,  and  other  historical  characters  before  and 
after  him  served  to  like  purpose.  To  the  children  of  Eome  in 
her  later  days,  Attila,  the  great  Hun,  was  such  a  bogy,  as  was 
Narses,  the  Byzantian  general  (d.  568  a.d.),  to  the  Assyrian  chil- 
dren. Bogies  also  were  Matthias  Corvinus  (d.  1490  a.d.),  the 
Himgarian  king  and  general,  to  the  Turks;  Tamerlane  (Timur), 

142  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

the  great  Mongolian  conqueror  (d.  1405  a.d.),  to  tlie  Persians; 
and  Bonaparte,  at  the  close  of  the  eighteenth  and  the  beginning 
of  the  nineteenth  century,  in  various  parts  of  the  continent  of 
Europe.  These,  and  other  historical  characters  have,  in  part, 
taken  the  place  of  the  giants  and  bogies  of  old,  some  of  whom, 
however,  linger,  even  yet,  in  the  highest  civilizations,  together 
with  fabulous  animals  (reminiscent  of  stern  reality  in  primitive 
times),  with  which,  less  seriously  than  in  the  lands  of  the  eastern 
world,  childhood  is  threatened  and  cowed  into  submission. 

The  Ponka  Indian  mothers  tell  their  children  that  if  they  do 
not  behave  themselves  the  Indaciilga  (a  hairy  monster  shaped 
like  a  human  being,  that  hoots  like  an  owl)  will  get  them ;  the 
Omaha  bogy  is  Icibajl ;  a  Dakota  child-stealer  and  bogy  is 
Anungite  or  "Two  Paces"  (433.  38G,  473).  With  the  Kootenay 
Indians,  of  south-eastern  British  Columbia,  the  owl  is  the  bogy 
with  which  children  are  frightened  into  good  behaviour,  the 
common  saying  of  mothers,  when  their  children  are  troublesome, 
being,  "If  you  are  not  quiet,  I'll  give  you  to  the  owl"  (203). 
Longfellow,  in  his  Hiawatha,  speaks  of  one  of  the  bogies  of  the 
eastern  Indians :  — 

"  Thus  the  wrinkled  old  Nokomis 
Nursed  the  little  Hiawatha, 
Rocked  him  in  his  linden  cradle, 
Stilled  his  fretful  wail  by  saying, 
'  Hush  !  the  naked  bear  will  get  thee  ! ' " 

Among  the  Nipissing  Algonkian  Indians,  koko  is  a  child-word 
for  any  terrible  being ;  the  mothers  say  to  their  children,  "  beware 
of  the  koko."  Champlain  and  Lescarbot,  the  early  chroniclers  of 
Canada,  mention  a  terrible  creature  (concerning  which  tales  were 
told  to  frighten  children)  called  gougou,  supposed  to  dwell  on  an 
island  in  the  Bale  des  Chaleurs  (200.  239).  Among  the  bogies 
of  the  Mayas  of  Yucatan,  Dr.  Brinton  mentions :  the  halams 
(giant  beings  of  the  night),  who  carry  off  children ;  the  culcalkin, 
or  "neckless  priest";  besides  giants  and  witches  galore  (411. 
174,  177). 

Among  the  Gualala  Indians  of  California,  we  find  the  "  devil- 
dance,"  which  Powers  compares  to  the  haberfeldtreiben  of  the 
Bavarian  peasants,  —  an  institution  got  up  for  the  purpose  of 


The  Golden  Age.  143 

frightening  the  women  and  children,  and  keeping  them  in  order. 
While,  the  ordinary  dances  are  going  on,  there  suddenly  stalks 
forth  "  an  ugly  apparition  in  the  shape  of  a  man,  wearing  a  feather 
mantle  on  his  back,  reaching  from  the  arm-pits  down  to  the 
mid-thighs,  zebra-painted  on  his  breast  and  legs  with  black  stripes, 
bear-skin  shako  on  his  head,  and  his  arms  stretched  out  at  full 
length  along  a  staff  passing  behind  his  neck.  Accoutred  in  this 
harlequin  rig,  he  dashes  at  the  squaws,  capering,  dancing,  whoop- 
ing ;  and  they  and  the  children  flee  for  life,  keeping  several  hun- 
dred yards  between  him  and  themselves."  It  is  believed  that, 
if  they  were  even  to  touch  his  stick,  their  children  would  die 
(519.  194). 

Among  the  Patwin,  Nishinam,  and  Porno  Indians,  somewhat 
similar  practices  are  in  vogue  (519.  157,  160,  225).  From  the 
golden  age  of  childhood,  with  its  divinities  and  its  demons,  we 
may  now  pass  to  the  consideration  of  more  special  topics  concern- 
ing the  young  of  the  races  of  men. 

Children's  Food. 

Der  Mensch  ist,  -was  er  isst. — Feuerbach. 

For  he  on  honey-dew  hath  fed, 

And  drunk  the  milk  of  Paradise.  —  Coleridge. 

Man  did  eat  angels'  food.  —  Psalm  Ixxviii.  25. 


Der  Mensch  ist,  was  er  isst,  —  "man  is  what  lie  eats,"  —  says 
Feuerbach,  and  there  were  food-philosophies  long  before  his  time. 
Among  primitive  peoples,  the  food  of  the  child  often  smacks  of 
the  Golden  Age.     Tennyson,  in  Eleanore,  sings :  — 

"Or,  the  yellow-banded  bees, 
Through  half-open  lattices 
Coming  in  the  scented  breeze, 
Fed  thee,  a  child  lying  alone, 

With  white  honey,  in  fairy  gardens  cull'd  — 
A  glorious  child  dreaming  alone, 
In  silk-soft  folds,  upon  yielding  down, 
With  the  hum  of  swarming  bees 
Into  dreamful  slumber  luU'd." 

This  recalls  the  story  of  Cretan  Zeus,  fed,  when  an  infant,  by 
the  nymphs  in  a  cave  on  Mount  Ida  with  the  milk  of  the  goat 
Am  althaea  and  honey  brought  by  the  bees  of  the  mountain. 

In  the  sacred  books  of  the  ancient  Hindus  we  read:  "The 
father  puts  his  mouth  to  the  right  ear  of  the  new-born  babe,  and 
murmurs  three  times,  '  Speech !  Speech ! '  Then  he  gives  it  a 
name.  Then  he  mixes  clotted  milk,  honey,  and  butter,  and  feeds 
the  babe  with  it  out  of  pure  gold  "  (460. 129).  Among  the  ancient 
Frisians  and  some  other  Germanic  tribes,  the  father  had  the  right 



Children  s  Food.  145 

to  put  to  death  or  expose  his  child  so  long  as  it  had  not  taken 
food ;  but  "  so  soon  as  the  infant  had  drunk  milk  and  eaten  honey- 
he  could  not  be  put  to  death  by  his  parents  "  (286. 69).  The  custom 
of  giving  the  new-bom  child  honey  to  taste  is  referred  to  in  Ger- 
man counting-out  rhymes,  and  the  ancient  Germans  used  to  rub 
honey  in  the  mouth  of  the  new-born  child.  The  heathen  Czechs 
used  to  drop  honey  upon  the  child's  lips,  and  in  the  Eastern 
Church  it  was  formerly  the  custom  to  give  the  baptized  child  milk 
and  honey  to  taste  (392.  II.  35).  ^\Tien  the  Jewish  child,  in  the 
Middle  Ages,  first  went  to  school,  one  of  the  ceremonial  obser- 
vances was  to  have  him  lick  a  slate  which  had  been  smeared  with 
honey,  and  upon  which  the  alphabet,  two  Bible  verses,  and  the 
words  ''The  Tora  shall  be  my  calling"  were  written;  this  cus- 
tom is  interestingly  explanative  of  the  passage  in  Ezekiel  (iii.  3) 
where  we  read  "  Then  I  did  eat  it  [the  roll  of  a  book  given  the 
prophet  by  God]  ;  and  it  was  in  my  mouth  as  honey  for  sweet- 
ness." There  were  also  given  to  the  child  sweet  cakes  upon 
which  Bible  verses  were  written.  Among  the  Jews  of  Galicia, 
before  a  babe  is  placed  in  the  cradle  for  the  first  time,  it  is  cus- 
tomary to  strew  into  the  latter  little  pieces  of  honey-comb. 
Among  the  Wotjaks  we  find  the  curious  belief  that  those  who,  in 
eating  honey,  do  not  smear  their  mouth  and  hands  with  it,  will 
die.  TVith  children  of  an  older  growth,  —  the  second  Golden 
Age,  —  honey  and  cakes  again  appear.  Magyar  maidens  at  the 
new  moon  steal  honey  and  cakes,  cook  them,  and  mix  a  part  in 
the  food  of  the  youth  of  their  desires ;  among  the  White  Russians, 
the  bridal  couple  are  fed  honey  with  a  spoon.  Even  with  us 
"  the  first  sweet  month  of  matrimony,"  after  the  "  bless  you,  my 
children  "  has  been  spoken  by  parents,  church,  and  state,  is  called 
the  "  honey-moon,"  for  our  Teutonic  ancestors  were  in  the  habit 
of  drinking  honey-wine  or  mead  for  the  space  of  thirty  days  after 
marriage  (392.  IV.  118, 211).  In  wedding-feasts  the  honey  appears 
again,  and,  as  Westermarck  observes,  the  meal  partaken  of  by  the 
bride  and  bridegroom  practically  constitutes  the  marriage-cere- 
mony among  the  Xavajos,  Santal,  Malays,  Hovas,  and  other 
primitive  peoples  (166.  419). 

In  Iceland,  in  ancient  times,  "  the  food  of  sucklings  was  sweet- 
ened by  honey,"  and  "  in  the  mouths  of  weakly  children  a  slice 
of  meat  was  placed  at  which  they  sucked."     Among  other  inter- 

146  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

esting  items  from  Scandinavia,  Ploss  (326.  II.  182)  gives  the  fol- 
lowing: ''In  Iceland,  if  the  child  has  been  suckled  eight  (at 
most,  fourteen)  days,  it  is  henceforth  placed  upon  the  ground; 
near  it  is  put  a  vessel  with  luke-warm  whey,  in  which  a  reed 
or  a  quill  is  stuck,  and  a  little  bread  placed  before  it.  If  the 
child  should  wake  and  show  signs  of  hunger,  he  is  turned  towards 
the  vessel,  and  the  reed  is  placed  in  his  mouth.  When  the 
child  is  nine  months  oldj  it  must  eat  of  the  same  food  as  its 
parents  do." 

In  Shropshire,  England,  the  first  food  given  a  child  is  a  spoon- 
ful of  sugar  and  butter,  and,  in  the  Highlands  of  Scotland,  "  at 
the  birth  of  an  infant  the  nurse  takes  a  green  stick  of  ash,  one 
end  of  which  she  puts  into  the  fire,  and,  while  it  is  burning, 
receives  in  a  spoon  the  sap  that  oozes  from  the  other,  which  she 
administers  to  the  child  as  its  first  food."  This  recalls  the  sap 
of  the  sacred  ash  of  Scandinavian  mythology.  Solinus  states 
that  the  ancient  Irish  mother  "put  the  first  food  of  her  new- 
born son  on  the  sword  of  her  husband,  and,  lightly  introducing 
it  into  his  mouth,  expressed  a  wish  that  he  might  never  meet 
death  otherwise  than  in  war  and  amid  arms,"  and  a  like  custom 
is  said  "  to  have  been  kept  up,  prior  to  the  union,  in  Annandale 
and  other  places  along  the  Scottish  border  "  (460.  129,  131). 


Among  the  Negritos  of  the  Philippine  Islands,  when  a  child  is 
born,  one  of  the  other  children  immediately  gives  it  to  eat  some 
salt  on  the  point  of  a  knife  (326.  I.  258).  The  virtues  of  salt  are 
recognized  among  many  peoples.  In  the  Middle  Ages,  when 
mothers  abandoned  their  infants,  they  used  to  place  beside  them 
a  little  salt  in  token  that  they  were  unbaptized  (326.  I.  284) ; 
in  Scotland,  where  the  new-born  babe  is  "  bathed  in  salted  water, 
and  made  to  taste  it  three  times,  because  the  water  was  strength- 
ening and  also  obnoxious  to  a  person  with  the  evil  eye,"  the  lady 
of  the  house  firsu  visited  by  the  mother  and  child  must,  with  the 
recital  of  a  charm,  put  some  salt  in  the  little  one's  mouth.  In 
Brabant,  during  the  baptismal  ceremony,  the  priest  consecrates 
salt,  given  him  by  the  father,  and  then  puts  a  grain  into  the 
child's  mouth,  the  rest  being  carefully  kept  by  the  father.     The 

Children's  Food.  147 

great  importance  of  salt  in  the  ceremonies  of  the  Zuni  and  related 
Indians  of  the  Pueblos  has  been  pointed  out  by  Mr.  Gushing. 

Salt  appears  also  at  modern  European  wedding-feasts  and  pre- 
nuptial  rites,  as  do  also  rice  and  meal,  which  are  also  among  the 
first  foods  of  some  primitive  races.  Among  the  Badagas  of  the 
Kilgiri  Hills,  when  the  child  is  named  (from  twenty  to  thirty 
days  after  birth),  the  maternal  uncle  places  three  small  bits  of 
rice  in  its  mouth  (326.  I.  284). 

FoTk-Medicin  e. 

Among  the  Tlingit  Indians,  of  Alaska,  the  new-born  infant  "  is 
not  given  the  breast  until  all  the  contents  of  its  stomach  (which 
are  considered  the  cause  of  disease)  are  removed  by  vomiting, 
which  is  promoted  by  pressing  the  stomach"  (403.  40),  and 
among  the  Hare  Indians,  "the  infant  is  not  allowed  food  until 
four  days  after  birth,  in  order  to  accustom  it  to  fasting  in  the 
next  world"  (396.  I.  121).  The  Songish  Indians  do  not  give 
the  child  anything  to  eat  on  the  first  day  (404.  20) ;  the  Kolosh 
Indians,  of  Alaska,  after  ten  to  thirty  months  "accustom  their 
children  to  the  taste  of  a  sea-animal,"  and,  among  the  Arctic 
Eskimo,  Kane  found  "  children,  who  could  not  yet  speak,  devour- 
ing with  horrible  greediness,  great  limips  of  walrus  fat  and  flesh." 
Klutschak  tells  us  how,  during  a  famine,  the  Eskimo  of  Hudson's 
Bay  melted  and  boiled  for  the  children  the  blood-soaked  snow 
from  the  spot  where  a  walrus  had  been  killed  and  cut  up 
(326.  11.  181). 

In  CuldafP,  in  the  county  of  Donegal,  Ireland,  "  an  infant  at  its 
birth  is  forced  to  swallow  spirits,  and  is  immediately  afterwards 
[strange  anticipation  of  Dr.  Kobinson]  suspended  by  the  upper 
jaw  on  the  nurse's  forefinger.  Whiskey  is  here  the  representative 
of  the  Hindu  soma,  the  sacred  juice  of  the  ash,  etc.,  and  the 
administration  of  alcoholic  liquors  to  children  of  a  tender  age 
in  sickness  and  disease  so  common  everywhere  but  a  few  years 
ago,  founded  itself  perhaps  more  upon  this  ancient  belief  than 
upon  anything  else  (401.  180). 

The  study  of  the  food  of  sick  children  is  an  interesting  one, 
and  much  of  value  may  be  read  of  it  in  Zanetti  (173),  Black  (401), 
and  other  writers  who  have  treated  of  folk-medicine.     The  decoc- 

148  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought 

tions  of  plants  and  herbs,  the  preparations  of  insects,  reptiles, 
the  flesh,  blood,  and  ordure  of  all  sorts  of  beasts  (and  of  man), 
which  the  doctrines  of  signatures  and  sympathies,  the  craze  of 
similia  similihus,  forced  down  the  throat  of  the  child,  in  the  way 
of  food  and  medicine,  are  legion  in  number,  and  must  be  read  in 
Polkard  and  the  herbalists,  in  Bourke  (407),  Strack,  etc. 

In  some  parts  of  the  United  States  even  snail-water  and  snail- 
soup  are  not  unknown ;  in  New  England,  as  Mrs.  Earle  informs 
us  (221.  6),  much  was  once  thought  of  "  the  admirable  and  most 
famous  snail-water." 

Milk  and  Honey. 

As  we  have  abundantly  seen,  the  first  food  of  the  child  is  the 
"  food  of  the  gods,"  for  so  were  honey  and  milk  esteemed  among 
the  ancient  Germans,  Greeks,  Slavs,  Hindus,  etc.,  and  of  the 
Paradise  where  dwelt  the  Gods,  and  into  which  it  was  fabled 
children  were  born,  we  have  some  recollection,  as  Ploss  suggests, 
in  the  familiar  "land  flowing  with  milk  and  honey,"  into  the 
possession  of  which  the  children  of  Israel  entered  after  their  long 
wandering  in  the  wilderness  (462.  II.  696).  Of  the  ancient  Hindu 
god  Agni,  Letourneau  (100.  315)  observes :  "  After  being  for  a 
long  time  fed  upon  melted  butter  and  the  alcoholic  liquor  from 
the  acid  asclepias,  the  sacred  Soma,  he  first  became  a  glorious 
child,  then  a  metaphysical  divinity,  a  mediator  living  in  the 
fathers  and  living  again  in  the  sons."  It  was  the  divine  Sdma 
that,  like  the  nectar  of  the  Greeks,  the  elixirs  of  the  Scandina- 
vians, conferred  youth  and  immortality  upon  those  who  drank  it. 

According  to  Moslem  legend,  after  his  birth,  Abraham  "re- 
mained concealed  in  a  cave  during  fifteen  months,  and  his 
mother  visited  him  sometimes  to  nurse  him.  But  he  had  no  need 
of  her  food,  for  Allah  commanded  water  to  flow  from  one  of 
Abraham's  fingers,  milk  from  another,  honey  from  the  third,  the 
juice  of  dates  from  the  fourth,  and  butter  from  the  fifth  " 
(547.  69). 


In  the  Gesta  Romanorum  (Cap.  XI.)  we  read  of  the  "  Queen  of 
the  North,"  who  "  nourished  her  daughter  from  the  cradle  upon 
a  certain  kind  of  deadly  poison ;  and  when  she  grew  up,  she  was 

Children's  Food.  149 

considered  so  beautiful,  that  the  sight  of  her  alone  affected  one 
with  madness."  Moreover,  her  whole  nature  had  become  so 
imbued  with  poisons  that  "  she  herself  had  become  the  deadliest 
poison  in  existence.  Poison  was  her  element  of  life.  With  that 
rich  perfume  of  her  breath  she  blasted  the  very  air.  Her  love 
would  have  been  poison,  her  embrace  death."  Hawthorne's  story 
of  "  Rappaccini's  Daughter,"  — "  who  ever  since  infancy  had 
grown  and  blossomed  with  the  plants  whose  fatal  properties  she 
had  imbibed  with  the  air  she  breathed,"  —  comes  from  the  same 
original  source  (390.  II.  172).  Here  we  are  taken  back  again  to 
the  Golden  Age,  when  even  poisons  could  be  eaten  without  harm. 

Priest  and  Food. 

With  the  giving  of  the  child's  food  the  priest  is  often  asso- 
ciated. In  the  Fiji  Islands,  at  Yitilevu,  on  the  day  when  the 
navel-string  falls  off,  a  festival  is  held,  and  the  food  of  the  child 
is  blest  by  the  priest  with  prayers  for  his  life  and  prosperity. 
In  Upper  Egypt,  a  feast  is  held  at  the  house  of  the  father  and 
the  child  consecrated  by  the  cadi  or  a  priest,  to  whom  is  brought 
a  plate  with  sugar-candy.  The  priest  chews  the  candy  and  lets 
the  sweet  juice  fall  out  of  his  mouth  into  that  of  the  child,  and 
thus  "  gives  him  his  name  out  of  his  mouth  "  (326.  I.  284). 

The  over-indulgence  of  children  in  food  finds  parallels  at  a 
later  x)eriod  of  life,  when,  as  with  the  people  of  southern  Nubia 
and  the  Sahara  between  Talifet  and  Timbuktu,  men  fatten  girls 
before  marriage,  making  them  consrmie  huge  quantities  of  milk, 
butter,  etc. 

For  children,  among  many  primitive  peoples,  there  are  numer- 
ous taboos  of  certain  classes  and  kinds  of  food,  from  religious  or 
superstitious  motives.  This  toftoo-system  has  not  lost  all  its  force 
even  to-day,  as  no  other  excuse  can  reasonably  be  offered  for 
the  refusal  of  certain  harmless  food  to  the  young. 


Concerning  certain  Australian  tribes,  Lumholtz  remarks :  "  Be- 
fore the  children  are  big  enough  to  hold  a  pipe  in  their  mouth 
they  are  permitted  to  smoke,  and  the  mother  will  share  her  pipe 

150  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

with  the  nursing  babe  "  (495.  193).  In  like  manner,  among  the 
natives  of  the  Solomon  Islands,  Mr.  Gnppy  witnessed  displays 
of  precocity  in  this  regard :  "  Bright-looking  lads,  eight  or  nine 
years  of  age,  stood  smoking  their  pipes  as  gravely  as  Hauniino 
[a  chief]  himself ;  and  even  the  smallest  babe  in  its  father's  arms 
caught  hold  of  his  pipe  and  began  to  suck  instinctively  "  (466. 42). 
With  the  Jivaro  Indians  of  Ecuador,  according  to  Simson,  the  child, 
when  three  or  four  years  old,  is  initiated  into  the  mysteries  of 
tobacco-smoking,  amid  great  festivities  and  ceremonies  (533.  388). 

Drink  of  Immortality. 

Feeding  the  dead  has  been  in  practice  among  many  primitive 
peoples.  The  mother,  with  some  of  the  Indian  tribes  of  New 
Mexico,  used  to  drop  milk  from  her  breast  on  the  lips  of  her 
dead  babe;  and  in  many  parts  of  the  world  we  meet  with  the 
custom  of  placing  food  near  the  grave,  so  that  the  spirits  may  not 
hunger,  or  of  placing  it  in  the  grave  or  coffin,  so  that  on  its  way 
to  the  spirit-land  the  soul  of  the  deceased  may  partake  of  some 
refreshment.  Among  the  ancient  natives  of  Venezuela,  "  infants 
who  died  a  few  days  after  their  birth,  were  seated  around  the 
Tree  of  Milk,  or  Celestial  Tree,  that  distilled  milk  from  the  ex- 
tremity of  its  branches  "  ;  and  kindred  beliefs  are  found  elsewhere 
(448.  297). 

We  have  also  the  tree  associated  beautifully  with  the  new- 
born child,  as  Reclus  records  concerning  the  Todas  of  the  Nilgiri 
Hills,  in  India:  "Immediately  the  deliverance  has  taken  place 
—  it  always  happens  in  the  open  air  —  three  leaves  of  the  afore- 
mentioned tree  [under  which  the  mother  and  father  have  passed 
the  night]  are  presented  to  the  father,  who,  making  cups  of  them, 
pours  a  few  drops  of  water  into  the  first,  wherewith  he  moistens 
his  lips ;  the  remainder  he  decants  into  the  two  other  leaves ;  the 
mother  drinks  her  share,  and  causes  the  baby  to  swallow  his. 
Thus,  father,  mother,  and  child,  earliest  of  Trinities,  celebrate 
their  first  communion,  and  drink  the  living  water,  more  sacred 
than  wine,  from  the  leaves  of  the  Tree  of  Life  "  (523.  201). 

The  sacred  books  of  the  Hebrews  tell  us  that  the  race  of  man 
in  its  infancy  became  like  the  gods  by  eating  of  the  fruit  of  the 
tree  of  knowledge,  and  in  the  legends  of  other  peoples  immortality 

Children's  Food.  151 

came  to  the  great  heroes  by  drinking  of  the  divine  sap  of  the 
sacred,  tree,  or  partaking  of  some  of  its  fruit.  The  ancient 
Egyptians  believed  that  milk  from  the  breast  of  the  divine 
mother  Isis  conferred  divinity  and  immortality  upon  him  who 
drank  of  it  or  imbibed  it  from  the  sacred  source.  "Wiedemann 
aptly  compares  with  this  the  Greek  story  of  the  infancy  of 
Hercules.  The  great  child-hero  was  the  son  of  the  god  Jupiter 
and  Alcmena,  daughter  of  Electryon,  King  of  Argos.  He  was 
exposed  by  his  mother,  but  the  goddess  Athene  persuaded  Hera 
to  give  him  her  breast  (another  version  says  Hermes  placed 
Hercules  on  the  breast  of  Hera,  while  she  slept)  and  the  infant 
Hercules  drew  so  lustily  of  the  milk  that  he  caused  pain  to  the 
goddess,  who  snatched  him  away.  But  Hercules  had  drunk  of 
the  milk  of  a  goddess  and  had  become  immortal,  and  as  one  of 
the  gods  (167.  266). 


Children's  Souls. 

The  soul  that  rises  with  us,  our  life's  star, 

Hath  elsewhere  its  setting, 

And  Cometh  from  afar.  —  Wordsworth. 

And  rest  at  last  where  souls  unhodied  dwell 
In  ever-flowing  meads  of  Asphodel. 

— Homer  (Pope's  Transl.). 


With  certain  Hindu  castes,  tlie  new-born  child  is  sprinkled 
with  cold  water,  "in  order  that  the  soul,  which,  since  its  last 
existence,  has  remained  in  a  condition  of  dreamy  contemplation, 
may  be  brought  to  the  consciousness  that  it  has  to  go  through  a 
new  period  of  trial  in  this  corporeal  world"  (326.  II.  13).  Per- 
haps, among  the  myriad  rites  and  ceremonies  of  immersion  and 
sprinkling  to  which  the  infant  is  submitted  with  other  primitive 
peoples,  some  traces  of  similar  beliefs  may  be  found. 

When  the  new  world-religion  was  winning  its  way  among  the 
gentiles,  baptism  was  the  great  barrier  erected  between  the  babe 
and  the  power  of  ill,  spirits  of  air,  earth,  and  water,  survivals  of 
old  heathenism  antagonistic  to  Christianity.  Before  that  holy 
rite  was  performed,  the  child  lay -exposed  to  all  their  machina- 
tions. Baptism  was  the  armour  of  the  infant  against  the  assaults 
of  Satan  and  his  angels,  against  the  cunning  of  the  wanderers 
from  elfin-land,  the  fairy-sprites,  with  their  changelings  and  their 
impish  tricks. 

Hence,  the  souls  of  still-born  and  unbaptized  children  came 
into  the  power  of  these  evil  ones  and  were  metamorphosed  into 
insects,  birds,  beasts,  and  the  like,  whose  peculiar  notes  and 
voices  betray  them  as  having  once  been  little  children,  or  were 


Children's  Souls.  153 

compelled  to  join  the  train  of  tlie  wild  huntsman,  or  mingle  in 
the  retinue  of  some  other  outcast,  wandering  sprite  or  devil ;  or, 
again,  as  some  deceitful  star,  or  will-o'-the-wisp,  mislead  and 
torment  the  traveller  on  moor  and  in  bog  and  swamp,  and  guide 
him  to  an  untimely  death  amid  desert  solitudes.  Ploss,  Hender- 
son, and  Swainson  have  a  good  deal  to  say  on  the  subject  of  Frau 
Berctha  and  her  train,  the  Wild  Huntsman,  the  "  Gabble  Eetchet," 
"  Yeth  Hoiinds,"  etc.  Mr.  Henderson  tells  us  that,  "  in  Xorth 
Devon  the  local  name  is  '  yeth  hoimds,'  heatJi  and  heathen  being 
both  'yeth'  in  the  North  Devon  dialect.  Unbaptized  infants 
are  there  buried  in  a  part  of  the  churchyard  set  apart  for  the 
purpose  called  '  Chrycimers,'  i.e.  Christianless,  hill,  and  the 
belief  seems  to  be  that  their  spirits,  having  no  admittance  into 
Paradise,  unite  in  a  pack  of  'Heathen'  or  *yeth'  hounds,  and 
hunt  the  Evil  One,  to  whom  they  ascribe  their  unhappy  condi- 
tion "  (469.  131,  132).  The  prejudice  against  unbaptized  children 
lingers  yet  elsewhere,  as  the  following  extract  from  a  newspaper 
published  in  the  year  1882  seems  to  indicate  (230.  272)  :  — 

"  There  is  in  the  island  of  Mull  a  little  burial-ground  entirely 
devoted  to  unbaptized  children,  who  were  thus  severed  in  the 
grave  from  those  who  had  been  interred  in  the  hope  of  resurrec- 
tion to  life.  Only  one  adult  lies  with  the  little  babes  —  an  old 
Christian  woman  —  whose  last  dying  request  it  was  that  she 
should  be  buried  with  the  unbaptized  children."  The  Eev.  Mr. 
Thorn  has  given  the  facts  poetic  form  and  made  immortal  that 
mother-heart  whose  love  made  holy  —  if  hallowed  it  needed  to 
be — the  lonely  burial-ground  where  rest  the  infant  outcasts  :  — 

"  A  spot  that  seems  to  bear  a  ban. 
As  if  by  curse  defiled : 
No  mother  lies  there  with  her  babe, 
No  father  by  his  child." 

Among  primitive  peoples  we  find  a  like  prejudice  against  still- 
bom  children  and  children  who  die  very  young.  The  natives  of 
the  Highlands  of  Borneo  think  that  still-born  infants  go  to  a 
special  spirit-land  called  Tenyn  lalhi,  and  "the  spirits  of  these 
children  are  believed  to  be  very  brave  and  to  require  no  weapon 
other  than  a  stick  to  defend  themselves  against  their  enemies. 
The  reason  given  for  this  idea  is,  that  the  child  has  never  felt 

154  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

pain  in  this  world  and  is  therefore  very  daring  in  the  other" 
(475.  199).  In  Annam  the  spirits  of  children  still-born  and  of 
those  dying  in  infancy  are  held  in  great  fear.  These  spirits, 
called  Con  Rank,  or  Con  L6n  (from  I6n,  "to  enter  into  life"), 
are  ever  seeking  "to  incorporate  themselves  in  the  bodies  of 
others,  though,  after  so  doing,  they  are  incapable  of  life."  More- 
over, "  their  names  are  not  mentioned  in  the  presence  of  women, 
for  it  is  feared  they  might  take  to  these,  and  a  newly-married 
woman  is  in  like  manner  afraid  to  take  anything  from  a  woman, 
or  to  wear  any  of  the  clothing  of  one,  who  has  had  such  a  child. 
Special  measures  are  necessary  to  get  rid  of  the  Con  Ranh" 
(397.  18-19).  The  Alfurus,  of  the  Moluccas,  "bury  children 
up  to  their  waists  and  expose  them  to  all  the  tortures  of  thirst 
until  they  wrench  from  them  the  promise  to  hurl  themselves 
upon  the  enemies  of  the  village.  Then  they  take  them  out,  but 
only  to  kill  them  on  the  spot,  imagining  that  the  spirits  of  the 
victims  will  respect  their  last  promise  "  (388.  81).  On  the  other 
hand,  Callaway  informs  us  that  the  Zulu  diviner  may  divine  by 
the  Amatongo  (spirit)  of  infants,  "  supposed  to  be  mild  and  benefi- 
cent" (417.  176). 


Wordsworth,  in  that  immortal  poem,  which  belongs  to  the 
jewels  of  the  treasure-house  of  childhood,  has  sung  of  the  birth 
of  man:  — 

"  Our  birth  is  but  a  sleep  and  a  forgetting; 
The  soul  that  rises  with  us,  our  life's  star, 
Hath  had  elsewhere  its  setting, 

And  Cometh  from  afar. 
Not  in  entire  forgetfulness, 
And  not  in  utter  nakedness, 
But,  trailing  clouds  of  glory,  do  we  come 

From  God,  who  is  our  home  : 
Heaven  lies  about  us  in  our  infancy,"  — 

and  the  humbler  bards  of  many  an  age,  whose  names  have  per- 
ished with  the  races  that  produced  them,  have  thought  and  sung 
of  soul-incarnation,  metempsychosis,  transmigration,  and  kindred 
concepts,  in  a  thousand  different  ways.  In  their  strangely  poet- 
ical language,  the  Tupi  Indians,  of  Brazil,  term  a  child  pitanga, 
"  suck  soul,"  from  piter,  "  to  suck,"  anga,  "  soul."     The  Seminole 

Children's  Souh.  155 

Indians,  of  Florida,  "held  the  baby  over  the  face  of  the  woman 
dying  -in  child-birth,  so  that  it  might  receive  her  parting  spirit " 
(409.  271).  A  similar  practice  (with  the  father)  is  reported  from 
Poljmesia.  In  a  recently  published  work  on  "Souls,"  by  Mrs. 
Mary  Ailing  Aber,  we  read :  — 

"  Two-thirds  of  all  the  babies  that  are  born  in  civilized  lands 
to-day  have  no  souls  attached  to  them.  These  babies  are  emana- 
tions from  their  parents,  —  not  true  entities;  and,  iinless  a  soul 
attaches  itself,  no  ordinary  efforts  can  carry  one  of  them  to  the 
twentieth  year.  Souls  do  attach  themselves  to  babies  after  birth 
sometimes  so  late  as  the  third  year.  On  the  other  hand,  babies 
who  have  souls  at  birth  sometimes  lose  them  because  the  soul 
finds  a  better  place,  or  is  drawn  away  by  a  stronger  influence ; 
but  this  rarely  occurs  after  the  third  year." 

This  somewhat  o^^tre  declaration  of  modem  spiritualism  finds 
kindred  in  some  of  the  beliefs  of  primitive  peoples,  concerning 
which  there  is  much  in  Ploss,  Frazer,  Bastian,  etc. 

In  one  of  the  Mussiilman  stories  of  King  Solomon,  the  Angel 
of  Death  descends  in  human  form  to  take  the  soul  of  an  aged 
man,  whose  wish  was  to  die  when  he  had  met  the  mightiest 
prophet.  He  dies  talking  to  the  wise  Hebrew  king.  Afterwards 
the  Angel  says  to  Solomon :  — 

"  He  [the  angel,  whose  head  reaches  ten  thousand  years  beyond 
the  seventh  heaven,  whose  feet  are  five  hundred  years  below  the 
earth,  and  upon  whose  shoidders  stands  the  Angel  of  Death]  it  is 
who  points  out  to  me  when  and  how  I  must  take  a  soul.  His  gaze 
is  fixed  on  the  tree  Sidrat  Almuntalia,  which  bears  as  many  leaves 
inscribed  with  names  as  there  are  men  living  on  the  earth. 

"  At  each  new  birth  a  new  leaf,  bearing  the  name  of  the  newly- 
born,  bursts  forth ;  and  when  any  one  has  reached  the  end  of  his 
life,  his  leaf  withers  and  falls  off,  and  at  the  same  instant  I  am 
with  him  to  receive  his  soul.  .  .  . 

"  As  often  as  a  believer  dies,  Gabriel  attends  me,  and  wraps  his 
sotil  in  a  green  silken  sheet,  and  then  breathes  it  into  a  green 
bird,  which  feeds  in  Paradise  until  the  day  of  the  resurrection. 
But  the  soul  of  the  sinner  I  take  alone,  and,  having  wrapped  it  in 
a  coarse,  pitch-covered,  woollen  cloth,  carry  it  to  the  gates  of  Hell, 
where  it  wanders  among  abominable  vapours  until  the  last  day  " 
(547.  213,  214). 

156  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

According  to  the  belief  of  the  Miao-tse,  an  aboriginal  tribe  of 
the  province  of  Canton,  in  China,  the  souls  of  unborn  children  are 
kept  in  the  garden  of  two  deities  called  "Flower-Grandfather" 
and  "  Flower-Grandmother,"  and  when  to  these  have  been  made 
by  a  priest  sacrifices  of  hens  or  swine,  the  children  are  let  out  and 
thus  appear  among  men.  As  a  charm  against  barrenness,  these 
people  put  white  paper  into  a  basket  and  have  the  priest  make  an 
invocation.  The  white  paper  represents  the  deities,  and  the  cere- 
mony is  called  Tcaufa;  i.e.  "Flower  Invocation." 

In  Japan,  a  certain  Lake  Fakone,  owing  its  origin  to  an  earth- 
quake, and  now  surrounded  by  many  temples,  is  looked  upon  as 
the  abode  of  the  souls  of  children  about  to  be  born  (326.  I.  3). 

Certain  Californian  Indians,  near  Monterey,  thought  that  "  the 
dead  retreated  to  verdant  islands  in  the  West,  while  awaiting  the 
birth  of  the  infants  whose  souls  they  were  to  form  "  (396.  III.  525), 

In  Calabria,  Italy,  when  a  butterfly  flits  around  a  baby's  cradle, 
it  is  believed  to  be  either  an  angel  or  a  baby's  soul,  and  a  like 
belief  prevails  in  other  parts  of  the  world;  and  we  have  the 
classic  personification  of  Psyche,  the  soul,  as  a  butterfly. 

Among  the  uneducated  peasantry  of  Ireland,  the  pure  white 
butterfly  is  thought  to  be  the  soul  of  the  sinless  and  forgiven 
dead  on  the  way  to  Paradise,  whilst  the  spotted  ones  are  the 
embodiments  of  spirits  condemned  to  spend  their  time  of  purga- 
tory upon  earth,  the  number  of  the  sins  corresponding  with  the 
number  of  spots  on  the  wings  of  the  insect  (418.  192). 

In  early  Christian  art  and  folk-lore,  the  soul  is  often  figured  as 
a  dove,  and  in  some  heathen  mythologies  of  Europe  as  a  mouse, 
weasel,  lizard,  etc. 

In  various  parts  of  the  world  we  find  that  children,  at  death, 
go  to  special  limbos,  purgatories,  or  heavens,  and  the  folk-lore  of 
the  subject  must  be  read  at  length  in  the  mythological  treatises. 

The  Andaman  Islanders  "  believe  that  every  child  which  is  con- 
ceived has  had  a  prior  existence,  but  only  as  an  infant.  If  a 
woman  who  has  lost  a  baby  is  again  about  to  become  a  mother, 
the  name  borne  by  the  deceased  is  bestowed  on  the  foetus,  in  the 
expectation  that  it  will  prove  to  be  the  same  child  born  again. 
Should  it  be  found  at  birth  that  the  babe  is  of  the  same  sex  as 
the  one  who  died,  the  identity  is  considered  to  be  sufficiently 
established;   but,  if  otherwise,  the  deceased  one  is  said  to   be 

Children  i  Souls.  157 

under  the  rdw-  (Ficus  laccifera),  in  -chd-itdn-  (Hades)."  Under 
this  tree,  upon  the  fruit  of  which  they  live,  also  dwell  "the 
spirits  and  souls  of  all  children  who  die  before  they  cease  to  be 
entirely  dependent  on  their  parents  (i.e.  under  six  years  of  age)  " 
(498.  86,  93).  There  was  a  somewhat  similar  myth  in  Venezuela 
(448.  297). 

Mr.  Codrington  gives  some  interesting  illustrations  of  this 
belief  from  Melanesia  (25.  311)  :  — 

"  In  the  island  of  Aurora,  Maewo,  in  the  New  Hebrides,  women 
sometimes  have  a  notion  that  the  origin,  beginning,  of  one  of 
their  children  is  a  cocoanut  or  a  bread-fruit,  or  something  of  that 
kind ;  and  they  believe,  therefore,  that  it  would  be  injurious  to 
the  child  to  eat  that  food.  It  is  a  fancy  of  the  woman,  before  the 
birth  of  the  child,  that  the  infant  will  be  the  nunu,  which  may  be 
translated  the  echo,  of  such  an  object.  Women  also  fancy  that 
a  child  is  the  nunu  of  some  dead  person.  It  is  not  a  notion 
of  metempsychosis,  as  if  the  soul  of  the  dead  person  returned  in 
the  new-born  child ;  but  it  is  thought  that  there  is  so  close  a  con- 
nection that  the  infant  takes  the  place  of  the  deceased.  At  iMota, 
also,  in  the  Banks  Islands,  there  was  the  belief  that  each  person 
had  a  source  of  his  being,  his  origin,  in  some  animate  or  inan- 
imate thing,  which  might,  under  some  circumstances,  become 
kno\vn  to  him."  As  >Ir.  Codrington  suggests,  such  beliefs  throw 
light  upon  the  probable  origin  of  totemism  and  its  development. 

Spirit -World. 

Mrs.  Stevenson  informs  us  that  "  although  the  Sia  do  not 
believe  in  a  return  of  the  spirits  of  their  dead  when  they  have 
once  entered  Shipapo  [the  lower  world],  there  was  once  an  ex- 
ception to  this."  The  priestly  tale,  as  told  to  Mrs.  Stevenson,  is 
as  follows  (538.  143) :  — 

"When  the  years  were  new,  and  this  village  had  been  built 
perhaps  three  years,  all  the  spirits  of  our  dead  came  here  for  a 
great  feast.  They  had  bodies  such  as  they  had  before  death; 
wives  recognized  husbands,  husbands  wives,  children  parents,  and 
parents  children.  Just  after  sundown  the  spirits  began  arriving, 
only  a  few  passing  over  the  road  by  daylight,  but  after  dark  they 
came  in  great  crowds  and  remained  imtil  near  dawn.     They  tar- 

158  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

ried  but  one  night ;  husbands  and  wives  did  not  sleep  together ; 
had  they  done  so,  the  living  would  have  surely  died.  When  the 
hour  of  separation  came,  there  was  much  weeping,  not  only 
among  the  living,  but  the  dead.  The  living  insisted  upon  going 
with  the  dead,  but  the  dead  declared  they  must  wait,  —  that 
they  could  not  pass  through  the  entrance  to  the  other  world; 
they  must  first  die  or  grow  old  and  again  become  little  children 
to  be  able  to  pass  through  the  door  of  the  world  for  the  departed. 
Jt  was  then  that  the  Sia  first  learned  all  about  their  future  home. 
They  learned  that  the  fields  were  vast,  the  pastures  beautiful,  the 
mountains  high,  the  lakes  and  rivers  clear  like  crystal,  and  the 
wheat  and  cornfields  flourishing.  During  the  day  the  spirits 
sleep,  and  at  night  they  work  industriously  in  the  fields.  The 
moon  is  father  to  the  dead  as  the  sun  is  father  to  the  living, 
the  dead  resting  when  the  sun  travels,  for  at  this  time  they  see 
nothing;  it  is  when  the  sun  returns  to  his  home  at  night  that 
the  departed  spirits  work  and  pass  about  in  their  world  below. 
The  home  of  the  departed  spirits  is  in  the  world  first  inhabited 
by  the  Sia." 

We  learn  further :  "  It  is  the  aim  of  the  Sia  to  first  reach  the 
intermediate  state  at  the  time  the  body  ceases  to  develop,  and 
then  return  gradually  back  to  the  first  condition  of  infancy ;  at 
such  periods  one  does  not  die,  but  sleeps  to  awake  in  the  spirit- 
world  as  a  little  child.  Many  stories  have  come  to  the  Sia  by 
those  who  have  died  only  for  a  time ;  the  heart  becomes  still  and 
the  lips  cold,  and  the  spirit  passes  to  the  entrance  of  the  other 
world  and  looks  in,  but  does  not  enter,  and  yet  it  sees  all,  and  in 
a  short  time  returns  to  inhabit  its  earthly  body.  Great  alarm  is 
felt  when  one  returns  in  this  way  to  life,  but  much  faith  is  put 
in  the  stories  afterwards  told  by  the  one  who  has  passed  over  the 
road  of  death." 

In  the  belief  of  these  Indians  of  North  America  we  see  some 
foreshadowing  of  the  declaration  of  Jesus,  a  rude  expression  of 
the  fundamental  thought  underlying  his  words :  — 

"  Suffer  little  children  to  come  unto  me,  and  forbid  them  not ; 
for  of  such  is  the  kingdom  of  God.  Verily  I  say  unto  you,  who- 
soever shall  not  receive  the  kingdom  of  God  as  a  little  child,  he 
shall  in  nowise  enter  therein." 

Certain  Siouan  Indians  think:    "The  stars  are  all  deceased 

Children's  Souh.  159 

men.  When  a  child  is  born,  a  star  descends  and  appears  on 
earth  in  human  form ;  after  death  it  reascends  and  appears  as 
a  star  in  heaven"  (433.  508).  How  like  this  is  the  poet's 
thought :  — 

"  Our  birth  is  but  a  sleep  and  a  forgetting  : 
The  soul  that  rises  with  us,  our  life's  star. 
Hath  had  elsewhere  its  setting, 
And  Cometh  from  afar." 


Children's  Flowees,  Plants,  and  Trees. 

As  for  man,  his  days  are  as  grass ;  as  a  flower  of  the  field  so  he  flourishes. 

— Psalm  ciii.  15. 
A  child  at  play  in  meadows  green, 

Plucking  the  fragrant  flowers, 
Chasing  the  white-winged  butterflies, — 
So  sweet  are  childhood's  hours. 

We  meet  wi'  blythesome  and  kythesome  cheerie  weans, 
Daffin'  and  laughin'  far  adoon  the  leafy  lanes. 
Wi'  gowans  and  buttercups  buskin'  the  thorny  wands  — 
Sweetly  siugin'  wi'  the  flower-branch  wavin'  in  their  hands. 

—  William  Miller. 

Many  savage  nations  worship  trees,  and  I  really  think  my  first  feeling  would 
be  one  of  delight  and  interest  rather  than  of  surprise,  if  some  day  when  I  am 
alone  in  a  wood,  one  of  the  trees  were  to  speak  to  me.  —  Sir  John  LubbocJc. 

O  who  can  tell 
The  hidden  power  of  herbs,  and  might  of  magic  spell  ?  —  Spenser. 

Plant  Life  and  Human  Life. 

Flowers,  plants,  and  trees  have  ever  been  interwoven  with 
the  fate  of  man  in  the  minds  of  poets  and  folk-thinkers.  The 
great  Hebrew  psalmist  declared :  "  As  for  man,  his  days  are  as 
grass ;  as  a  flower  of  the  field  so  he  flourisheth,"  and  the  old 
Greeks  said  beautifully,  olrjTrtp  (f>v\X(Dv  y^vcrj,  ToiySe  koI  dvSpciv,  "  as 
is  the  generation  of  leaves,  so  is  also  that  of  men  " ;  or,  to  quote 
the  words  of  Homer  (Iliad,  vi.  146)  :  — 

"  Like  as  the  generation  of  leaves,  so  also  is  that  of  men  ; 
For  the  wind  strews  the  leaves  on  the  ground  ;  but  the  forest, 
Putting  forth  fresh  buds,  grows  on,  and  spring  will  presently  return. 
Thus  with  the  generation  of  men  ;  the  one  blooms,  the  other  fades  away." 


Children  and  the  Plant  World,  161 

One  derivation  (a  folk-etymology,  perhaps)  suggested  for  the 
Greek  avdponros  connects  it  with  av^os,  making  man  to  be  "  that 
which  springs  up  like  a  flower."  We  ourselves  speak  of  the 
"  flower  of  chivalry,"  the  "  bloom  of  youth,"  "  budding  youth  " ; 
the  poets  call  a  little  child  a  "flower,"  a  "bud,"  a  "blossom,"  — 
Herrick  even  terms  an  infant  "  a  virgin  flosculet."  Plants,  beasts, 
men,  cities,  civilizations,  grow  and  flourish;  the  seKsame  words 
are  applied  to  them  all. 

The  same  idea  comes  out  strongly  in  the  words  relating  to 
birth  and  childhood  in  the  languages  of  many  primitive  peoples. 
"With  the  Cakchiquel  Indians  of  Guatemala  the  term  boz  has  the 
following  meanings :  "  to  issue  forth ;  (of  flowers)  to  open,  to 
blow ;  (of  a  butterfly)  to  come  forth  from  the  cocoon ;  (of  chicks) 
to  come  forth  from  the  egg ;  (of  grains  of  maize)  to  burst ;  (of  men) 
to  be  boru  " ;  in  Xahuatl  (Aztec),  itzmoUni  signifies  "  to  sprout, 
to  grow,  to  be  born  " ;  in  Delaware,  an  Algonkian  Indian  dialect, 
mehittuk,  "tree,"  mehittgus,  "twig,"  mehittachpin,  "to  be  bom," 
seem  related,  while  gischi'gin  means  "  to  ripen,  to  mature,  to  be 

In  many  tongues  the  words  for  "  young "  reveal  the  same  flow 
of  thought.  In  Maya,  an  Indian  language  of  Yucatan,  yax  signi- 
fies "  green,  fresh,  young  " ;  in  Xahuatl,  yancuic,  "  green,  fresh, 
new,"  and  yancuic  pilla,  "  a  new-bom  babe  " ;  in  Chippeway,  oshki, 
"new,  fresh,  young,"  whence  oshkigin,  "young  shoot,"  oshkinau:e, 
"lad,  youth,"  oshkinig,  "newly  born,"  oshkinaiaa,  "a  new  or 
young  object,"  oshkiaiaans,  "a  young  animal  or  bird,"  oshkiabi- 
nodji,  "  babe,  infant,  new-born  child  " ;  in  Karankawa,  an  Indian 
language  of  Texas,  kwa'-an,  "child,  yovmg,"  signifies  literally 
"  growing,"  from  ka'-awan,  "  to  grow "  (said  of  animals  and 

Our  English  words  lad  and  lass,  which  came  to  the  language 
from  Celtic  sources,  find  their  cognate  in  the  Gothic  jugga-IautJis, 
"  young  lad,  young  man,"  where  jugga  means  "  young,"  and  lauths 
is  related  to  the  verb  liudan,  "to  grow,  to  spring  up,"  from  which 
root  we  have  also  the  German  Leute  and  the  obsolete  English  leet, 
for  "  people  "  were  originally  "  the  grown,  the  sprung  up." 

Maid  {maiden),  Anglo-Saxon  mcegd,  Modern  High  German 
Magd,  Gothic  magaths  (and  here  belongs  also  old  English  may) 
is  an  old  Teutonic  word  for  "  virgin,  young  girl.'     The  Gothic 

162  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

magaths  is  a  derivative  from  magus,  "  son,  boy,  servant,"  cognate 
with  Old  Irish  mac,  "  boy,  son,  youth,"  mag  (mug),  "  slave,"  Old 
Norse  m<igr,  "son,"  Anglo-Saxon  mago,  "son,  youth,  servant, 
man,"  the  radical  of  all  these  terms  being  mag,  "  to  have  power, 
to  increase,  to  grow,"  —  the  Gothic  magus  was  properly  "  a  grow- 
ing (boy),"  a  "maid"  is  "a  growing  (girl),"  The  same  idea 
Tinderlies  the  month-name  May,  for,  to  the  Romans,  this  was 
"the  month  of  growth,"  —  flowery,  bounteous  May,  —  and  dedi- 
cated to  Maia,  "  the  increaser,"  but  curiously,  as  Ovid  tells  us, 
the  common  people  considered  it  unlucky  to  marry  in  May,  for 
then  the  rites  of  Bona  Dea,  the  goddess  of  chastity,  and  the  feasts 
of  the  dead,  were  celebrated. 


The  study  of  dendanthropology  and  human  florigeny  would 
lead  us  wide  afield.  The  ancient  Semitic  peoples  of  Asia  Minor 
had  their  "  Tree  of  Life,"  which  later  religions  have  spiritualized, 
and  more  than  one  race  has  ascribed  its  origin  to  trees.  The 
Carib  Indians  believed  that  mankind  —  woman  especially  —  were 
first  created  from  two  trees  (509.  109) .  According  to  a  myth  of 
the  Siouan  Indians,  the  first  two  human  beings  stood  rooted  as 
trees  in  the  ground  for  many  ages,  until  a  great  snake  gnawed  at 
the  roots,  so  that  they  got  loose  and  became  the  first  Indians. 
In  the  old  Norse  cosmogony,  two  human  beings  —  man  and 
woman  —  were  created  from  two  trees  —  ash  and  elm  —  that 
stood  on  the  searshore ;  while  Tacitus  states  that  the  holy  grove 
of  the  Semnones  was  held  to  be  the  cradle  of  the  nation,  and  in 
Saxony,  men  are  said  to  have  grown  from  trees.  The  Maya 
Indians  called  themselves  "  sons  of  the  trees  "  (509.  180,  264). 

Doctor  Beauchamp  reports  a  legend  of  the  Iroquois  Indians, 
according  to  which  a  god  came  to  earth  and  sowed  five  handfuls 
of  seed,  and  these,  changing  to  worms,  were  taken  possession  of 
by  spirits,  changed  to  children,  and  became  the  ancestors  of  the 
Five  Nations  (480.  IV.  297). 

Classical  mythology,  along  with  dryads  and  tree-nymphs  of  all 
sorts,  furnishes  us  with  a  multitude  of  myths  of  the  metamor- 
phosis of  human  beings  into  trees,  plants,  and  flowers.  Among 
the  most  familiar  stories  are  those  of  Adonis,  Crocus,  Phyllis, 

Children  and  the  Plant  World.  163 

Narcissus,  Leucothea,  Hyacinthus,  Syrinx,  Clytie,  Daphne,  Orchis, 
Lotis,  yhilemon  and  Baucis,  Atys,  etc.  All  over  the  world  we  find 
myths  of  like  import. 

A  typical  example  is  the  Algonkian  Indian  legend  of  the  trans- 
formation of  Mishosha,  the  magician,  into  the  sugar-maple,  —  the 
name  aninatik  or  ininatik  is  interpreted  by  folk-etymology  as 
"  man-tree,"  the  sap  being  the  life-blood  of  Mishosha.  Gluskap, 
the  culture-hero  of  the  Micmacs.  once  changed  "  a  mighty  man  " 
into  the  cedar-tree. 

Many  of  the  peculiarities  of  trees  and  plants  are  explained 
by  the  folk  as  resulting  from  their  having  once  been  human 

Grimm  and  Ploss  have  called  attention  to  the  widespread 
custom  of  planting  trees  on  the  occasion  of  the  birth  of  a  child, 
the  idea  being  that  some  sort  of  connection  between  the  plant 
and  the  human  existed  and  would  show  itself  sympathetically. 
In  Switzerland,  where  the  belief  is  that  the  child  thrives  with 
the  tree,  or  vice  versd,  apple-trees  are  planted  for  boys  and  pear- 
or  nut-trees  for  girls.  Among  the  Jews,  a  cedar  was  planted  for 
a  boy  and  a  pine  for  a  girl,  while  for  the  wedding  canopy,  branches 
were  cut  from  both  these  trees  (385.  6).  From  this  thought  the 
orators  and  psalmists  of  old  Israel  drew  many  a  noble  and  inspir- 
ing figure,  such  as  that  used  by  David:  "The  righteous  shall 
flourish  like  the  palm-tree :  he  shall  grow  like  a  cedar  in  Leba- 
non." Here  belong  also  "  flourishing  like  a  green  bay-tree,"  and 
the  remark  of  the  Captain  in  Shakespeare's  King  Richard 
Second :  — 

"  'Tis  thought  the  king  is  dead.     "We  will  not  stay ; 
The  bay -trees  in  our  country  are  all  withered." 

Child-Flowers  and  -Plants. 

The  planting  of  trees  for  the  hero  or  the  heroine  and  the  belief 
that  these  wither  when  a  death  is  near,  blossom  when  a  happy 
event  approaches,  and  in  many  ways  react  to  the  fate  and  fortune 
of  their  human  fellows,  occur  very  frequently  in  fairy-tales  and 

There  is  a  sweet  Tyrolian  legend  of  "a  poor  idiot  boy,  who 
lived  alone  in  the  forest  and  was  never  heard  to  say  any  words 

164  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

but  '  Ave  Maria.'  After  his  death  a  lily  sprang  up  on  his  grave, 
on  whose  petals  *  Ave  Maria '  might  be  distinctly  read  "  (416.  216). 

An  old  Greek  myth  relates  that  the  Crocus  "  sprang  from  the 
blood  of  the-  infant  Crocus,  who  was  accidentally  struck  by  a 
metal  disc  thrown  by  Mercury,  whilst  playing  a  game  "  (448. 299). 
In  Ossianic  story,  "  Malvina,  weeping  beside  the  tomb  of  Fingal, 
for  Oscar  and  his  infant  son,  is  comforted  by  the  maids  of  Morven, 
who  narrate  how  they  have  seen  the  innocent  infant  borne  on  a 
light  mist,  pouring  upon  the  fields  a  fresh  harvest  of  flowers, 
amongst  which  rises  one  with  golden  disc,  encircled  with  rays  of 
silver,  tipped  with  a  delicate  tint  of  crimson."  Such,  according 
to  this  Celtic  legend,  was  the  origin  of  the  daisy  (448.  308). 

The  peasants  of  Brittany  believe  that  little  children,  when  they 
die,  go  straight  to  Paradise  and  are  changed  into  beautiful  flowers 
in  the  garden  of  heaven  (174.  141).  Similar  beliefs  are  found  in 
other  parts  of  the  world,  and  a  like  imagery  is  met  with  among 
our  poets.  Well  known  is  Longfellow's  little  poem  "  The  Eeaper 
and  the  Flowers,"  in  which  death,  as  a  reaper,  reaps  not  alone 
the  "  bearded  grain,"  but  also  "  the  flowers  [children]  that  grow 
between,"  for :  — 

"  '  My  Lord  has  need  of  these  flowerets  gay,' 
The  reaper  said,  and  smiled  ; 
'  Dear  tokens  of  the  earth  are  they, 
Where  he  was  once  a  child.'  " 

And  so :  — 

"The  mother  gave,  in  tears  and  pain, 
The  flowers  she  most  did  love  ; 
She  knew  she  should  find  them  all  again 
In  the  field  of  light  above." 

According  to  a  myth  of  the  Chippeway  Indians,  a  star  once 
came  down  from  heaven  to  dwell  among  men.  Upon  consulting 
with  a  young  man  in  a  dream  as  to  where  it  should  live,  it  was 
told  to  choose  a  place  for  itself,  and,  "  at  first,  it  dwelt  in  the 
white  rose  of  the  mountains ;  but  there  it  was  so  buried  that  it 
could  not  be  seen.  It  went  to  the  prairie ;  but  it  feared  the  hoof 
of  the  buifalo.  It  next  sought  the  rocky  clilf ;  but  there  it  was 
so  high  that  the  children  whom  it  loved  most  could  not  see  it." 
It  decided  at  last  to  dwell  where  it  could  always  be  seen,  and  so 

Children  and  the  Plant  World.  165 

one  morning  the  Indians  awoke  to  find  the  surface  of  river,  lake, 
and  pond  covered  with  thousands  of  white  flowers.  Thus  came 
into  existence  the  beautiful  water-lilies  (440.  68-70). 

Perhaps  the  most  beautiful  belief  regarding  children's  flowers 
is  that  embodied  in  Hans  Christian  Andersen's  tale  The  Angel, 
where  the  Danish  prose-poet  tells  us :  "  Whenever  a  child  dies, 
an  angel  from  heaven  comes  do^Ti  to  earth  and  takes  the  dead 
child  in  his  arms,  spreads  out  his  great  white  wings,  and  flies 
away  over  all  the  places  the  child  has  loved  and  picks  quite  a 
handful  of  flowers,  which  he  carries  up  to  the  Almighty,  that 
they  may  bloom  in  heaven  more  brightly  than  on  earth.  And 
the  Father  presses  all  the  flowers  to  His  heart ;  but  He  kisses  the 
flower  that  pleases  Him  best,  and  the  flower  is  then  endowed 
with  a  voice  and  can  join  in  the  great  chorus  of  praise"  (393. 34J). 


Beside  this,  however,  we  may  perhaps  place  the  following 
quaint  story  of  **The  Devils  on  the  Meadows  of  Heaven,"  of 
which  a  translation  from  the  German  of  Rudolph  Baumbach,  by 
"C.  F.  P.,"  appears  in  the  Association  Record  (October,  1892), 
published  by  the  Young  Women's  Christian  Association  of 
Worcester,  Mass. :  — 

"  As  you  know,  good  children,  when  they  die,  come  to  Heaven 
and  become  angels.  But  if  you  perhaps  think  they  do  nothing 
the  sweet,  long  day  but  fly  about  and  play  hide-and-seek  behind 
the  clouds,  you  are  mistaken.  The  angel-children  are  obliged  to 
go  to  school  like  the  boys  and  girls  on  the  earth,  and  on  week 
days  must  be  in  the  angel-school  three  hours  in  the  forenoon  and 
two  in  the  afternoon.  There  they  write  with  golden  pens  on 
silver  slates,  and  instead  of  ABC-books  they  have  stoiy-books 
with  gay-coloured  pictures.  They  do  not  learn  geography,  for 
of  what  use  in  Heaven  is  earth-knowledge ;  and  in  eternity  one 
doesn't  know  the  multiplication  table  at  all.  Dr.  Faust  is  the 
angel-school  teacher.  On  earth  he  was  an  A.M.,  and  on  account 
of  a  certain  event  which  does  not  belong  here,  he  is  obliged  to 
keep  school  in  Heaven  three  thousand  years  more  before  the  long 
vacation  begins  for  him.  Wednesday  and  Saturday  afternoons 
the  little  angels  have  holiday ;  then  they  are  taken  to  walk  on 

166  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

the  Milky  Way  by  Dr.  Faust.  But  Sunday  they  are  allowed  to 
play  on  the  great  meadow  in  front  of  the  gate  of  Heaven,  and 
that  they  joyfully  anticipate  during  the  whole  week. 

"  The  meadow  is  not  green,  but  blue,  and  on  it  grow  thousands 
and  thousands  of  silver  and  golden  flowers.  They  shine  in  the 
night  and  we  men  call  them  stars. 

"  When  the  angels  are  sporting  about  before  the  gate  of 
Heaven,  Dr.  Faust  is  not  present,  for  on  Sunday  he  must  recover 
from  the  toil  of  the  past  week.  St.  Peter,  who  keeps  watch  at 
the  Heavenly  gate,  then  takes  charge.  He  usually  sees  to  it 
that  the  play  goes  on  properly,  and  that  no  one  goes  astray  or 
flies  away ;  but  if  one  ever  gets  too  far  away  from  the  gate,  then 
he  whistles  on  his  golden  key,  which  means  '  Back ! ' 

"Once  —  it  was  really  very  hot  in  Heaven  —  St.  Peter  fell 
asleep.  When  the  angels  noticed  this,  they  ceased  swarming 
hither  and  thither  and  scattered  over  the  whole  meadow.  But 
the  most  enterprising  of  them  went  out  on  a  trip  of  discovery, 
and  came  at  last  to  the  place  where  the  world  is  surrounded  by  a 
board  fence.  First  they  tried  to  find  a  crack  somewhere  through 
which  they  might  peep,  but  as  they  found  no  gap,  they  climbed 
up  the  board  fence  and  hung  dangling  and  looking  over. 

"Yonder,  on  the  other  side,  was  hell,  and  before  its  gate  a 
crowd  of  little  devils  were  just  running  about.  They  were  coal- 
black,  and  had  horns  on  their  heads  and  long  tails  behind.  One 
of  them  chanced  to  look  up  and  noticed  the  angels,  and  immedi- 
ately begged  imploringly  that  they  would  let  them  into  Heaven 
for  a  little  while;  they  would  behave  quite  nice  and  properly. 
This  moved  the  angels  to  pity,  and  because  they  liked  the  little 
black  fellows,  they  thought  they  might  perhaps  allow  the  poor 
imps  this  innocent  pleasure. 

"  One  of  them  knew  the  whereabouts  of  Jacob's  ladder.  This 
they  dragged  to  the  place  from  the  lumber-room  (St.  Peter  had, 
luckily,  not  waked  up),  lifted  it  over  the  fence  of  boards,  and 
let  it  down  into  hell.  Immediately  the  tailed  fellows  clambered 
up  its  rounds  like  monkeys,  the  angels  gave  them  their  hands, 
and  thus  came  the  devils  upon  Heaven's  meadows. 

"  At  first  they  behaved  themselves  in  a  quite  orderly  manner. 
Modestly  they  stepped  along  and  carried  their  tails  on  their  arms 
like  trains,  as  the  devil  grandmother,  who  sets  great  value  on 

Children  and  the  Plant  World.  167 

propriety,  had  taught  them.  But  it  did  not  last  long ;  they  be- 
came frolicsome,  turned  wheels  and  somersaults,  and  shrieked 
at  the  same  time  like  real  imps.  The  beautiful  moon,  who 
was  looking  kindly  out  of  a  window  in  Heaven,  they  derided, 
thrust  out  their  tongues  and  made  faces  (German:  long  noses) 
at  her,  and  finally  began  to  pluck  up  the  flowers  which  grew  on 
the  meadow  and  throw  them  down  on  the  eart;h.  Xow  the 
angels  grew  frightened  and  bitterly  repented  letting  their  evil 
guests  into  Heaven,  They  begged  and  threatened,  but  the  devils 
cared  for  nothing,  and  kept  on  in  their  frolic  more  madly.  Then, 
in  terror,  the  angels  waked  up  St.  Peter  and  penitently  confessed 
to  him  what  they  had  done.  He  smote  his  hands  together  over 
his  head  when  he  saw  the  mischief  which  the  imps  had  wrought. 
'March  in!'  thundered  he,  and  the  little  ones,  with  drooping 
wings,  crept  through  the  gate  into  Heaven.  Then  St.  Peter 
called  a  few  sturdy  angels.  They  collected  the  imps  and  took 
them  where  they  belonged. 

"  The  little  angels  did  not  escape  punishment.  Three  Sundays 
in  succession  they  were  not  allowed  in  front  of  Heaven's  gate, 
and,  if  they  were  taken  to  walk,  they  were  obliged  to  first  un- 
buckle their  wings  and  lay  aside  their  halos ;  and  it  is  a  great 
disgrace  for  an  angel  to  go  about  without  wings  and  halo. 

"  But  the  affair  resulted  in  some  good,  after  all.  The  flowers 
which  the  devils  had  torn  up  and  thrown  upon  the  earth  took 
root  and  increased  from  year  to  year.  To  be  sure,  the  star-flower 
lost  much  of  its  heavenly  beauty,  but  it  is  still  always  lovely  to 
look  at,  with  its  golden-yellow  disk,  and  its  silvery  white  crown 
of  rays. 

"  And  because  of  its  Heavenly  origin,  a  quite  remarkable  power 
resides  in  it.  If  a  maiden,  whose  mind  harbours  a  doubt,  pulls 
off,  one  by  one,  the  white  petals  of  the  flower-star,  whispering 
meanwhile  a  certain  sentence  at  the  fall  of  the  last  little  petal, 
she  is  quite  sure  of  what  she  desires  to  know." 

The  very  name  Aster  is  suggestive  of  star-origin  and  recalls  the 
lines  of  Longfellow :  — 

"  Spake  full  well,  in  language  quaint  and  olden, 
One  who  dwelleth  by  the  castled  Rhine, 
When  he  called  the  flowers,  so  blue  and  golden. 
Stars,  that  in  earth's  firmament  do  shine." 

168  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought 

The  reference  seems  to  be  to  Friedrich  Wilhelm  Carove,  of  Cob- 
lentz,  in  whose  Mdrchen  ohne  Ende,  a  forget-me-not  is  spoken  of 
as  "  twinkling  as  brightly  as  a  blue  star  on  the  green  firmament 
of  earth  "  (390.  II.  149). 

Another  contribution  to  floral  astrology  is  the  brief  poem  of 
H.  M.  Sweeny  in  the  Catholic  World  for  November,  1892 :  — 

"  The  Milky  Way  is  the  foot-path 
Of  the  martyrs  gone  to  God ; 
Its  stars  are  the  flaming  jewels 
To  show  us  the  way  thej'  trod. 

•«  The  flowers  are  stars  dropped  lower, 
Our  daily  path  to  light, 
In  daylight  to  lead  us  upward 
As  those  jewels  do  at  night." 

Flower-oracles  are  discussed  in  another  section,  and  the  "  lan- 
guage of  flowers  "  of  which  the  poet  tells,  — 

"  In  Eastern  lands  they  talk  in  flowers, 

And  they  tell  in  a  garland  their  loves  and  cares  ; 
Each  blossom  that  blooms  in  their  garden  bower 
On  its  leaves  a  mystic  language  bears," 

must  be  studied  in  Dyer,  Friend,  and  Folkard,  or  in  the  various 
booklets  which  treat  of  this  entertaining  subject. 

Though  in  Bohemia  it  is  believed  that  "  seven-year-old  children 
will  become  beautiful  by  dancing  in  the  flax,"  and  in  some  parts 
of  Germany  "when  an  infant  seems  weakly  and  thrives  slowly, 
it  is  placed  naked  upon  the  turf  on  Midsummer  Day,  and  flax- 
seed is  sprinkled  over  it;  the  idea  being,  that,  as  the  flax-seed 
grows,  so  the  child  will  gradually  grow  stronger  "  (435.  278,  279) ; 
flowers  and  plants  are  sometimes  associated  with  ill-luck  and 
death.  In  Westphalia  and  Thuringia  the  superstition  prevails 
that  "  any  child  less  than  a  year  old,  who  is  permitted  to  wreathe 
himself  with  flowers,  will  soon  die."  In  the  region  about  Cocker- 
mouth,  in  the  county  of  Cumberland,  England,  the  red  campion 
{Lychnis  diurna)  is  known  as  "  mother-die,"  the  belief  being  that, 
if  children  gather  it,  some  misfortune  is  sure  to  happen  to  the 
parents.  Dyer  records  also  the  following:  "In  West  Cumber- 
land, the   herb-robert  {Geranium  robertianum)  is   called  *  death 

Children  and  the  Plant  World.  169 

come  qnickly,'  from  a  like  reason,  while  in  parts  of  Yorkshire, 
the  belief  is  that  the  mother  of  a  child  who  has  gathered  the 
germander  speedwell  {Veronica  chamoedrys)  will  die  ere  the  year 
is  out "  (435.  276) 

Children's  Plant-Names. 

Mr.  H.  C.  Mercer,  discussing  the  question  of  the  presence  of 
Indian  corn  in  Italy  and  Europe  in  early  times,  remarks  {Amer. 
Naturalist,  Vol.  XXVIII.,  1894,  p.  974)  :  — 

"  An  etymology  has  been  suggested  for  the  name  Grano  Turco 
[Turkish  grain],  in  the  antics  of  boys  when  bearded  and  mous- 
tached  with  maize  silk,  they  mimic  the  fierce  looks  of  Turks  in 
the  high  *  com.'  We  cannot  think  that  the  Italian  lad  does  not 
smoke  the  mock  tobacco  that  must  tempt  him  upon  each  ear. 
If  he  does,  he  apes  a  habit  no  less  American  in  its  origin  than 
the  maize  itself.  So  the  American  lad  playing  with  a  'shoe- 
string bow '  or  a  '  corn-stalk  fiddle '  would  t\irn  to  Italy  for  his 

In  the  interesting  lists  of  popular  American  plant-names,  pub- 
lished by  Mrs.  Fanny  D.  Bergen  (400),  are  found  the  following  in 
which  the  child  is  remembered :  — 

Babies'  breath,  Galium  Mollugo.     In  Eastern  Massachusetts. 
Babies'  breath,  Muscari  botryoides.     In  Eastern  Massachusetts. 
Babies'  feet,  Polygala  paucifolia.     In  New  Hampshire. 
Babies'  slippers,  Polygala  paucifolia.     In  Western  Massachusetts. 
Babies'  toes,  Polygala  paucifolia.     In  Hubbardston,  Mass. 
Baby  blue-eyes,  Xemophila  insignis.     In  Sta.  Barbara,  CaL 
Blue-eyed  babies,  Houstonia  coerulea.     In  Springfield,  Mass. 
Boys  and  girls,  Dicentra  cucullaria.     In  New  York. 
Boys'  love,  Artemisia  absinthium.     In  Wellfleet,  Mass. 
Death-baby,  Phallus  sp.  (?).    In  Salem,  Mass. 
Girls  and  boys,  Dicentra  cucullaria.     In  Vermont. 
Little  boy's  breeches,  Dicentra  cucullaria.     In  Central  Iowa. 

"  Blue-eyed  babies  "  is  certainly  an  improvement  upon  "Quaker 
ladies,"  the  name  by  which  the  Houstonia  is  known  in  some  parts 
of  Xew  England;  "death-baby"  is  a  term  that  is  given,  Mrs 
Bergen  tells  us,  '•  from  the  fancy  that  they  foretell  death  in  the 
family  near  whose  house  they  spring  up.     I  have  known  of  intel- 

170  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

ligent  people  rushing  out  in  terror  and  beating  down  a  colony  of 
these  as  soon  as  they  appeared  in  the  yard." 

The  parents  have  not  been  entirely  forgotten,  as  the  following 
names  show :  — 

Mother's  beauties,  Calandrina  Menziesii.     In  Sta.  Barbara,  Cal. 
Mother  of  thousands,  Tradescantia  crassifolia  (?).     In  Boston,  Mass. 
Daddy-nuts,  Tilia  sp.  (?).     In  Madison,  Wis. 

At  La  Crosse,  Wis.,  the  Lonicera  talarica  is  called  "  twin  sisters," 
a  name  which  finds  many  analogues. 

As  we  have  seen,  the  consideration  of  children  as  flowers,' 
plants,  trees,  traverses  many  walks  of  life.  Floral  imagery  has 
appealed  to  many  primitive  peoples,  perhaps  to  none  more  than 
to  the  ancient  Mexicans,  with  whom  children  were  often  called 
flowers,  and  the  Nagualists  termed  Mother-Earth  "  the  flower  that 
contains  everything,"  and  "the  flower  that  eats  everything"  — 
being  at  once  the  source  and  end  of  life  (413.  54). 

A  sweet  old  German  legend  has  it  that  the  laughter  of  little 
children  produced  roses,  and  the  sweetest  and  briefest  of  the 
"  good-night  songs  "  of  the  German  mothers  is  this :  — 

*'  Guten  Abend,  gute  Nacht ! 
Mit  Kosen  bedacht, 
Mit  Naglein  besteckt ; 
Morgen  friih,  wenn's  Gott  will, 
Wirst  du  wieder  geweckt." 

Children's  Axlmals,  Blrds,  etc. 

My  brother,  the  hare,  .  .  .  my  sisters,  the  doves.  —  St.  Francis  of  Assisi. 

Lore  of  animals  is  inborn.    The  child  that  has  had  no  pets  is  to  be  pitied. 

—  G.  Stanley  Hall. 
For  what  are  the  voices  of  birds  — 
Aye,  and  of  beasts, — but  words,  oar  words, 
Only  so  much  more  sweet? — Browning. 

I  know  not,  little  Ella,  what  the  flowers 

Said  to  you  then,  to  make  your  cheek  so  pale; 
And  why  the  blackbird  in  our  laurel  bowers 

Spoke  to  you,  only :  and  the  poor  pink  snail 
Fear'd  less  your  steps  than  those  of  the  May-shower 

It  was  not  strange  those  creatures  loved  you  so, 

And  told  you  aU.    'Twas  not  so  long  ago 
You  were  yourself  a  bird,  or  else  a  flower. 

—  Lord  Lytton  {Owen  Meredith). 

Children  and  Young  Animals. 

The  comparisons  sometimes  made  of  children  with  various  of 
the  lower  animals,  such  as  monkeys,  bears,  pigs,  etc.,  come  more 
naturally  to  some  primitive  peoples,  who,  as  Ploss  has  pointed 
out,  suckle  at  the  breast  the  young  of  certain  animals  simul- 
taneously with  their  own  offspring.  In  this  way,  the  infant  in 
the  Society  Islands  comes  early  into  association  with  puppies,  as 
he  does  also  among  several  of  the  native  tribes  of  Australia  and 
America;  so  was  it  like^vise  in  ancient  Eome,  and  the  custom 
may  yet  be  found  among  the  tent-gypsies  of  Transylvania,  in 
Persia,  and  even  within  the  present  century  has  been  met  with 
in  Naples  and  Gottingen.  The  Maori  mother,  in  like  manner, 
suckles  young  pigs,  the  Arawak  Indian  of  Guiana  young  monkeys 


172  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

(as  also  do  the  Siamese),  the  natives  of  Kamtschatka  young 
bears.  An  old  legend  of  the  city  of  Breslau  has  it  that  the 
fashion  certain  ladies  have  of  carrying  dogs  around  with  them 
originated  in  the  fact  that  Duke  Boleslau,  in  the  last  quarter  of 
the  eleventh  century,  punished  the  women  of  Breslau,  for  some 
connubial  unfaithfulness,  by  taking  away  their  suckling  chil- 
dren and  making  them  carry  instead  puppies  at  the  breast  (392. 
I.  61). 

Of  the  Arekuna  of  Guiana,  Schomburgk  tells  us :  — 
"  They  bring  up  children  and  monkeys  together.  The  monkeys 
are  members  of  the  family,  eat  with  the  other  members,  are 
suckled  by  the  women,  and  have  great  affection  for  their  human 
nurses.  Oftentimes  a  woman  is  to  be  seen  with  a  child  and 
a  monkey  at  the  breast,  the  two  nurselings  quarrelling "  (529. 

The  young  children  of  the  less  nomadic  tribes  grow  up  in  close 
association  with  the  few  domestic  animals  possessed  by  their 
parents,  tumbling  about  with  the  puppies  on  the  wigwam-floor  or 
racing  Avith  them  around  the  camp-stead. 

The  history  of  totemism  and  fetichism,  primitive  medicine, 
and  the  arts  connected  therewith,  their  panaceas,  talismans,  and 
amulets,  show  early  association  of  the  child  with  animals.  In 
the  village  of  Issapoo,  on  the  island  of  Fernando  Po,  in  Western 
Africa,  there  is  fastened  to  a  pole  in  the  market-place  a  snake- 
skin,  to  touch  which  all  infants  born  the  preceding  year  are 
brought  by  their  mothers  during  an  annual  festival  (529.  32).  In 
various  parts  of  the  world,  novices  and  neophytes  are  put  to 
dream  or  fast  in  seclusion  until  they  see  some  animal  which 
becomes  their  tutelary  genius,  and  whose  form  is  often  tattooed 
upon  their  body. 

Sir  John  Maundeville,  the  veracious  mediaeval  chronicler,  re- 
ported that  in  Sicily  serpents  were  used  to  test  the  legitimacy  of 
children ;  "  if  the  children  be  illegitimate,  the  serpents  bite  and 
kill  them."  Hartland  cites,  on  the  authority  of  Tliiele,  ''  a  story 
in  which  a  wild  stallion  colt  is  brought  in  to  smell  two  babes, 
one  of  which  is  a  changeling.  Every  time  he  smells  one  he  is 
quiet  and  licks  it ;  but,  on  smelling  the  other,  he  is  invariably 
restive  and  strives  to  kick  it.  The  latter,  therefore,  is  the 
changeling"  (258.111). 

Children  and  the  Animal  World.  173 

Animal  Nurses. 

Akin  to  these  practices  are  many  of  the  forms  of  exposure  and 
abandonment  all  over  the  world.  Shakespeare,  in  The  Winter's 
Tale,  makes  Antigonus  say :  — 

"  Come  on  (poor  Babe). 
Some  powerful  Spirit  instruct  the  Kites  and  Ravens 
To  be  thy  Nurses.     Wolves  and  Bears,  they  say 
(Casting  their  savageness  aside),  have  done 
Like  oflSces  of  pity." 

An  old  Egyptian  painting  represents  a  child  and  a  calf  being 
suckled  by  the  same  cow,  and  in  Palestine  and  the  Canary 
Islands,  goats  are  used  to  suckle  children,  especially  if  the 
mother  of  the  little  one  has  died  (125.  II.  393).  The  story  of 
Psammetichus  and  the  legend  of  Romulus  and  Remus  find  parallels 
in  many  lands.  Gods,  heroes,  saints,  are  suckled  and  cared  for  in 
their  infancy  by  grateful  beasts. 

Wild  Children. 

Doctor  Tylor  has  discussed  at  some  length  the  subject  of  "  wild 
men  and  beast  children"  (376),  citing  examples  from  many  differ- 
ent parts  of  the  globe.  Procopius,  the  chronicler  of  the  Gothic 
invasion  of  Italy,  states  (with  the  additional  information  that  he 
saw  the  child  in  question  himself),  that,  after  the  barbarians  had 
ravaged  the  country,  "  an  infant,  left  by  its  mother,  was  found  by 
a  she-goat,  which  suckled  and  took  care  of  it.  When  the  sur- 
vivors came  back  to  their  deserted  homes,  they  found  the  child 
living  with  its  adopted  mother,  and  called  it  .^gisthus."  Doctor 
Tylor  calls  attention  to  the  prevalence  of  similar  stories  in  Ger- 
many after  the  destruction  and  devastation  of  the  Napoleonic 
wars;  there  appears  to  be  record  of  several  children  wild  or 
animal-reared  having,  during  this  period,  been  received  into 
Count  von  Recke's  asylum  at  Overdyke.  Many  of  these  tales  we 
need  not  hesitate  to  dismiss  as  purely  fabulous,  though  there  may 
be  truth  in  some  of  the  rest.  Among  the  best-known  cases  (some 
of  which  are  evidently  nothing  more  than  idiots,  or  poor  wander- 
ing children)  are :  Peter,  the  "  Wild  Boy  "  of  Hameln  (in  1724) ; 
the  child  reported  in  the  Hessian  Chronicle  as  having  been  found 
by  some  hunters  living  with  wolves  in  1341  j  the  child  reported 

174  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought 

by  Bernard  Connor  as  living  with  she-bears,  and  the  child  found 
with  bears  at  Grodno  in  Poland ;  the  wolf-child  of  the  Ardennes, 
mentioned  by  Koeuig,  in  his  treatise  on  the  subject ;  the  Irish  boy 
said  to  feed  on  grass  and  hay,  found  living  among  the  wild  sheep ; 
the  girl  found  living  wild  in  Holland  in  1717 ;  the  two  goat-like 
boys  of  the  Pyrenees  (in  1719) ;  the  amphibious  wild  girl  of 
Chalons  sur  Marne  (in  1731) ;  the  wild  boy  of  Bamberg,  who  lowed 
like  an  ox ;  and,  the  most  renowned  of  all,  Kaspar  Hauser.  This 
celebrated  "wild  boy"  has  recently  been  made  the  subject  of  a 
monograph  by  the  Duchess  of  Cleveland  (208),  of  which  the  first 
words  are  these :  "  The  story  of  Kaspar  Hauser  is  both  curious 
and  instructive.  It  shows  on  how  commonplace  and  unpromis- 
ing a  foundation  a  myth  of  European  celebrity  may  rest."  Sir 
William  Sleeman  has  something  to  say  of  "  beast-children  "  in 
the  Kingdom  of  Oude  (183),  and  Mr.  Ball,  who  writes  of  wolf- 
reared  children  in  India,  calls  attention  to  the  fact  that  in  that 
country  there  seems  to  have  been  no  instance  of  a  wolf-reared 
girl  (183.  474). 

In  the  Kathd  sarit  sAgara  ("  Ocean  of  the  River  of  Story  "),  a 
work  belonging  to  the  twelfth  century,  there  is  the  story  of  the 
immoral  union  of  a  yaksha,  or  jin,  and  the  daughter  of  a  holy 
man,  who  was  bathing  in  the  Ganges.  The  relatives  of  the  girl 
by  magic  changed  the  two  guilty  persons  into  a  lion  and  a  lion- 
ess. The  latter  soon  died,  but  gave  birth  to  a  human  child,  which 
the  lion-father  made  the  other  lionesses  suckle.  The  baby  grew 
up  and  became  "  the  world-ruling  king,  Satavahana  "  (376.  29). 

Another  Hindu  story  tells  how  the  daughter  of  a  Brahman, 
giving  birth  to  a  child  while  on  a  journey,  was  forced  to  leave  it 
in  a  wood,  where  it  was  suckled  and  nursed  by  female  jackals 
until  rescued  by  merchants  who  happened  to  pass  by. 

Herodotus  repeats  the  tales  that  Cyrus  was  nursed  and  suckled 
by  a  bitch;  Zeus  figures  as  suckled  by  a  goat;  Romulus  and 
Remus,  the  founders  of  Rome  according  to  the  ancient  legend, 
were  nursed  by  a  she-wolf ;  and  others  of  the  heroes  and  gods  of 
old  were  suckled  by  animals  whose  primitive  kinship  with  the 
race  of  man  the  folk  had  not  forgotten. 

Professor  Rauber  of  Dorpat,  in  his  essay  on  "  Homo  Sapiens 
Ferus"  (335),  discusses  in  detail  sixteen  cases  of  wild  children 
(including  most  of  those  treated  by  Tylor)  as  follows :  the  two 

Children  and  the  Animal  World.  175 

Hessian  wolf-children,  boys  (1341-1344) ;  the  Bamberg  boy,  who 
grew  up  among  the  cattle  (at  the  close  of  the  sixteenth  century) ; 
Hans  of  Liege;  the  Irish  boy  brought  up  by  sheep;  the  three 
Lithuanian  bear-boys  (1657,  1669,  1694) ;  the  girl  of  Oranien- 
burg  (1717);  the  two  Pyrenaean  boys  (1719);  Peter,  the  wild 
boy  of  Hameln  (1724) ;  the  girl  of  Songi  in  Champagne  (1731) ; 
the  Hungarian  bear-girl  (1767) ;  the  wild  man  of  Cronstadt  (end 
of  eighteenth  century);  the  boy  of  Aveyron  (1795).  It  will  be 
noticed  that  in  this  list  of  sixteen  eases  but  two  girls  figure. 

As  a  result  of  his  studies  Professor  Eauber  concludes :  "  What 
we  are  wont  to  call  reason  does  not  belong  to  man  as  such ;  in 
himself  he  is  without  it.  The  appellation  Homo  sajiiens  does 
not  then  refer  to  man  as  such,  but  to  the  ability  under  certain 
conditions  of  becoming  possessed  of  reason.  It  is  the  same  with 
language  and  cvdture  of  every  sort.  The  title  Homo  sapiens  ferns 
(Linnaeus)  is  in  a  strict  sense  unjustifiable  and  a  contradiction  in 
itself."  To  prehistoric  man  these  wild  children  are  like,  but 
they  are  not  the  same  as  he ;  they  resemble  him,  but  cannot  be 
looked  upon  as  one  and  the  same  with  him.  From  the  stand- 
point of  pedagogy,  Professor  Eauber,  from  the  consideration  of 
these  children,  feels  compelled  to  declare  that  "  the  ABC-school 
must  be  replaced  by  the  culture-schooL"  In  other  words:  "The 
ABC  is  not,  as  so  many  believe,  the  beginning  of  all  wisdom.  In 
order  to  be  able  to  admeasure  this  sufficiently,  prehistoric  studies 
are  advisable,  nay,  necessary.  Writing  is  a  very  late  acquisition 
of  man.  In  the  arrangement  of  a  curriculum  for  the  first  years 
of  the  culture-school,  reading  and  writing  are  to  be  placed  at  the 
end  of  the  second  school  year,  but  never  are  they  to  begin  the 
course.  .  .  .  Manual  training  ought  also  to  be  taken  up  in 
the  schools ;  it  is  demanded  by  considerations  of  culture-history  " 
(335.  133). 

Animal  Stories. 

Professor  W.  H.  Brewer  of  Xew  Haven,  discussing  the  "  instinc- 
tive interest  of  children  in  bear  and  wolf  stories,"  observes 
(192):  "The  children  of  European  races  take  more  interest  in 
bear  and  wolf  stories  than  in  stories  relating  to  any  other  wild 
animals.  Their  interest  in  bears  is  greater  than  that  in  wolves, 
and  in  the  plays  of  children  bears  have  a  much  more  conspicu- 

176  The  CUld  in  Folk -Thought. 

ous  part.  There  is  a  sort  of  fascination  in  everytliing  relating 
to  these  animals  that  attracts  the  child's  attention  from  a  very- 
early  age,  and  '  Tell  me  a  bear  story '  is  a  common  request  long 
before  it  learns  to  read."  After  rejecting,  as  unsatisfactory,  the 
theory  that  would  make  it  a  matter  of  education  with  each 
child,  —  "  the  conservative  traditions  of  children  have  preserved 
more  stories  about  bears  and  wolves,  parents  and  nurses  talk 
more  about  them,  these  animals  have  a  larger  place  in  the  litera- 
ture for  children ;  hence  the  special  interest,"  —  Professor  Brewer 
expresses  his  own  belief  that  "the  special  interest  our  children 
show  towards  these  two  animals  is  instinctive,  and  it  is  of  the 
nature  of  an  inherited  memory,  vague,  to  be  sure,  yet  strong 
enough  to  give  a  bend  to  the  natural  inclinations."  He  points  out 
that  the  bear  and  the  wolf  are  the  two  animals  "  which  have  been 
and  still  are  the  most  destructive  to  human  life  (and  particularly 
to  children)  in  our  latitude  and  climate,"  and  that  "  several  of  the 
large  breeds  of  dogs,  —  the  wolf-hound  proper,  the  mastiff  (par- 
ticularly the  Spanish  mastiff),  and  even  the  St.  Bernard,  —  were 
originally  evolved  as  wolf-dogs  for  the  protection  of  sheep  and 
children."  His  general  conclusion  is :  "  The  fear  inspired  by 
these  animals  during  the  long  ages  of  the  childhood  of  our  civ- 
ilization, and  the  education  of  the  many  successive  generations 
of  our  ancestors  in  this  fear,  descends  to  us  as  an  inherited  mem- 
ory, or,  in  other  words,  an  instinct.  While  not  strong,  it  is  of 
sufficient  force  to  create  that  kind  of  fascination  which  stories  of 
bears  and  wolves  have  in  children  before  the  instincts  are  covered 
up  and  obscured  by  intellectual  education.  The  great  shaggy  bear 
appeals  more  strongly  to  the  imagination  of  children,  hence  its 
superior  value  to  play  '  boo '  with." 

Rahhit  and  Hare. 

The  rabbit  and  the  hare  figure  in  many  mythologies,  and  around 
them,  both  in  the  Old  World  and  the  New,  has  grown  up  a  vast 
amount  of  folk-lore.  The  rabbit  and  the  child  are  associated  in 
the  old  nursery-rhyme :  — 

"Bye,  bye,  Baby  Bunting, 
Papa's  gone  a-hunting, 
To  get  a  rabbit-skin, 
To  wrap  Baby  Bunting  in," 

Children  and  the  Animal  World.  177 

wliicli  reminds  us  at  once  of  tlie  Chinook  Indians  and  the  Flat 
Heads  of  the  Columbia,  with  whom  "the  child  is  wrapped  in 
rabbit-skins  and  placed  in  this  little  coffin-like  cradle,  from  which 
it  is  not  in  some  instances  taken  out  for  several  weeks  "  (306. 174). 

An  Irish  belief  explains  hare-lip  as  having  been  caused,  before 
the  birth  of  the  child,  by  the  mother  seeing  a  hare.  The  Chinese 
think  that  "  a  hare  or  a  rabbit  sits  at  the  foot  of  the  cassia-tree 
in  the  moon,  pounding  the  drugs  out  of  which  the  elixir  of  immor- 
tality is  compounded '"  (401.  155). 

The  Ungava  Eskimo,  according  to  Turner,  have  a  legend  that 
the  hare  was  once  a  little  child,  abused  by  its  elders ;  it  ran  away 
to  dwell  by  itself.  The  hare  has  no  tail,  because  as  a  child  he  had 
none ;  and  he  lays  back  his  ears,  when  he  hears  a  shout,  because 
he  thinks  people  are  talking  about  him  "  (544.  263). 

In  a  myth  of  the  Menomoni  Indians,  reported  by  Dr.  W.  J. 
Hoffman,  we  read  that  Manabush  [the  great  culture-hero]  and 
a  twin  brother  were  born  the  sons  of  the  virgin  daughter  of  an 
old  woman  named  Nokdmis.  His  brother  and  mother  died. 
Nokomis  wrapped  Manabush  in  dry,  soft  grass,  and  placed  a 
wooden  bowl  over  him.  After  four  days  a  noise  proceeded  from 
the  bowl,  and,  upon  removing  it,  she  saw  "  a  little  white  rabbit 
with  quivering  ears."  Afterwards,  when  grown  up,  and  mourn- 
ing for  the  death  of  his  brother,  Manabush  is  said  to  have  hid 
himself  in  a  large  rock  near  Mackinaw,  where  he  was  visited  by 
the  people  for  many  years.  When  he  did  not  wish  to  see  them 
in  his  human  form,  he  appeared  to  them  as  "  a  little  white  rabbit 
with  trembling  ears  "  (389.  (1890)  246).  Of  the  white  rabbit,  the 
Great  Hare,  Manabush,  Nilniboju,  etc.,  more  must  be  read  in  the 
mythological  essays  of  Dr.  Brinton. 

Among  the  tales  of  the  Ainu  of  Yezo,  Japan,  recorded  by 
Professor  B.  H.  Chamberlain,  is  the  following  concerning  the 
Hare-god :  — 

"  Suddenly  there  was  a  large  house  on  top  of  a  hill,  wherein 
were  six  persons  beautifully  arrayed,  but  constantly  quarrelling. 
"Whence  they  came  was  not  known.  Thereupon  [the  god]  Okiku- 
rumi  came,  and  said :  '  Oh,  you  bad  hares !  you  wicked  hares ! 
Who  should  not  know  your  origin?  The  children  in  the  sky 
were  pelting  each  other  with  snowballs,  and  the  snowballs  fell 
into  this  world  of  men.     As  it  would  have  been  a  pity  to  waste 

178  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

heaven's  snow,  the  snowballs  were  turned  into  hares,  and  those 
hares  are  you.  You  who  live  in  this  world  of  mine,  this  world  of 
human  beings,  must  be  quiet.  What  is  it  that  you  are  brawling 
about  ? '  With  these  words,  Okikurumi  seized  a  fire-brand,  and 
beat  each  of  the  six  with  it  in  turn.  Thereupon  all  the  hares  ran 
away.  This  is  the  origin  of  the  hare-god,  and  for  this  reason  the 
body  of  the  hare  is  white,  because  made  of  snow,  while  its  ears, 
which  are  the  part  which  was  charred  by  the  fire,  are  black" 
(471.  486). 

The  Mayas  of  Yucatan  have  a  legend  of  a  town  of  hares  under 
the  earth  (411.  179). 

In  Germany  we  meet  with  the  "Easter-Hare"  (Oster-Hase). 
In  many  parts  of  that  country  the  custom  prevails  at  or  about 
Easter-tide  of  hiding  in  the  garden,  or  in  the  house,  eggs,  which, 
the  children  are  told,  have  been  laid  by  the  "Easter-hare." 
Another  curious  term  met  with  in  northeastern  Germany  is 
"hare-bread"  (Hasenbrod).  In  Quedlinburg  this  name  is  given 
to  bread  (previously  placed  there  intentionally  by  the  parents) 
picked  up  by  children  when  out  walking  with  their  parents  or 
elders.  In  Lilneburg  it  is  applied  to  dry  bread  given  a  hungry 
child  with  an  exhortation  to  patience.  In  the  first  case,  the  little 
one  is  told  that  the  hare  has  lost  it,  and  in  the  second,  that  it  has 
been  taken  away  from  him.  The  name  "  hare-bread  "  is  also  given 
to  bread  brought  home  by  the  parents  or  elders,  when  returning 
from  a  journey,  the  children  being  told  that  it  has  been  taken 
away  from  the  hare. 

In  the  shadow-pictures  made  on  the  wall  for  the  amusement  of 
children  the  rabbit  again  appears,  and  the  hare  figures  also  in 
children's  games. 


According  to  the  belief  of  certain  Indians  of  Vancouver  Island, 
there  once  lived  "  a  monstrous  old  woman  with  wolfish  teeth,  and 
finger-nails  like  claws."  She  used  to  entice  away  little  children 
whom  she  afterwards  ate  up.  One  day  a  mother,  who  was  about 
to  lose  her  child  thus,  cried  out  to  the  spirits  to  save  her  child 
in  any  way  or  form.  Her  prayer  was  answered,  and  "The  Great 
Good  Father,  looking  down  upon  the  Eed  Mother,  pities  her ;  lo ! 
the  child's  soft  brown  skin  turns  to  fur,  and  there  slides  from  the 

Children  and  the  Animal  World.  179 

ogress's  grip,  no  ctild,  but  the  happiest,  liveliest,  merriest  little 
sqiiirtel  of  all  the  West,  —  but  bearing,  as  its  descendants  still 
bear,  those  four  dark  lines  along  the  back  that  show  where  the 
cruel  claws  ploughed  into  it  escaping  "  (396.  III.  52-54). 

Elsewhere,  also,  the  squirrel  is  associated  with  childhood. 
Familiar  is  the  passage  in  Longfellow's  Hiawatha,  where  the 
hero  speaks  to  the  squirrel,  who  has  helped  him  out  of  a  great 
difficulty :  — 

"  Take  the  thanks  of  Hiawatha, 

And  the  name  which  now  he  gives  you ; 

For  hereafter,  and  forever, 

Boys  shall  call  you  adjidmimo, 

Tail  in  air  the  boys  shall  call  you." 


Those  noble  and  indefatigable  missionaries,  the  Moravians, 
have  more  than  once  been  harshly  criticised  in  certain  quarters, 
because,  in  their  versions  of  the  Bible,  in  the  Eskimo  language, 
they  saw  fit  to  substitute  for  some  of  the  figurative  expressions 
employed  in  our  rendering,  others  more  intelligible  to  the 
aborigines.  In  the  New  Testament  Christ  is  termed  the  "  Lamb 
of  God,"  but  since,  in  the  Arctic  home  of  the  Innuit,  shepherds 
and  sheep  are  alike  unknown,  the  translators,  by  a  most  felicitous 
turn  of  language,  rendered  the  phrase  by  "  little  seal  of  God,"  a 
figure  that  appealed  at  once  to  every  Eskimo,  young  and  old, 
men  and  women;  for  what  sheep  were  to  the  dwellers  on  the 
Palestinian  hillsides,  seals  are  to  this  northernmost  of  human 
races.  Rink  tells  us  that  the  Eskimo  mother  "  reserves  the  finest 
furs  for  her  new-bom  infant,"  while  the  father  keeps  for  it  "  the 
daintiest  morsels  from  the  chase,"  and,  to  make  its  eyes  beautiful, 
limpid,  and  bright,  he  gives  it  seal's  eyes  to  eat "  (523.  37). 


Mrs.  Bramhall  tells  us  how  in  Japan  the  little  children,  play- 
ing about  the  temples,  feed  the  pet  fishes  of  the  priests  in  the 
temple-lake.  At  the  temple  of  the  Mikado,  at  Kioto,  she  saw 
"six  or  eight  little  boys  and  girls  .  .  .  lying  at  fvdl  length  on 
the  bank  of  the  pretty  lake."     The  fishes  were  called  up  by 

180  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

whistling,  and  the  children  fed  them  by  holding  over  the  water 
their  open  hands  full  of  crumbs  (189.  Q>b).  Other  inhabitants  of 
the  sea  and  the  waters  of  the  earth  are  brought  into  early 
relation  with  children. 

Crabs  and  Crawfishes. 

Among  the  Yeddavanad,  of  the  Congo,  a  mother  tells  her  chil- 
dren concerning  three  kinds  of  crabs :  "  Eat  Jcallali,  and  you  will 
become  a  clever  man ;  eat  hullali,  and  you  will  become  as  brave  as 
a  tiger ;  eat  mandalU,  and  you  will  become  master  of  the  house  " 
(449.  297). 

In  the  Chippeway  tale  of  the  "Kaccoon  and  the  Crawfish,"  after 
the  former,  by  pretending  to  be  dead,  has  first  attracted  to  him 
and  then  eaten  all  the  crawfish,  we  are  told :  — 

"  While  he  was  engaged  with  the  broken  limbs,  a  little  female 
crawfish,  carrying  her  infant  sister  on  her  back,  came  up  seeking 
her  relations.  Finding  they  had  all  been  devoured  by  the  rac- 
coon, she  resolved  not  to  survive  the  destruction  of  her  kindred, 
but  went  boldly  up  to  the  enemy,  and  said :  *  Here,  Aissibun 
(Raccoon),  you  behold  me  and  my  little  sister.  AVe  are  all  alone. 
You  have  eaten  up  our  parents  and  all  our  friends.  Eat  us,  too ! ' 
And  she  continued  to  say :  '  Eat  us,  too  !  Aissibun  amoon,  Aissi- 
bun amoon ! '  The  raccoon  was  ashamed.  '  No ! '  said  he, '  I  have 
banqueted  on  the  largest  and  fattest ;  I  will  not  dishonour  myself 
with  such  little  prey.'  At  this  moment,  Manabozho  [the  culture- 
hero  or  demi-god  of  these  Indians]  happened  to  pass  by.  '  Tyau,' 
said  he  to  the  raccoon,  '  thou  art  a  thief  and  an  unmerciful  dog. 
Get  thee  up  into  trees,  lest  I  change  thee  into  one  of  these  same 
worm-fish;  for  thou  wast  thyself  a  shell-fish  originally,  and  I 
transformed  thee.'  Manabozho  then  took  up  the  little  supplicant 
crawfish  and  her  infant  sister,  and  cast  them  into  the  stream. 
'There,'  said  he,  'you  may  dwell.  Hide  yourselves  under  the 
stones ;  and  hereafter  you  shall  be  playthings  for  little  children ' " 
(440.  411,  412). 


The  imitation  of  animals,  their  movements,  habits,  and  peculi- 
arities in  games  and  dances,  also  makes  the  child  acquainted  at 
an  early  age  with  these  creatures. 

Children  and  the  Animal  World.  181 

In  the  section  on  "Bird  and  Beast,"  appropriately  headed  by 
the  wdrds  of  the  good  St.  Francis  of  Assisi  —  '*  My  brother,  the 
hare,  .  .  .  my  sisters,  the  doves,"  —  Mr.  Xewell  notices  some  of 
the  children's  games  in  which  the  actions,  cries,  etc.,  of  animals 
are  imitated.  Such  are  "  My  Household,"  "  Frog-Pond,"  "  Bloody 
Tom,"  "  Blue-birds  and  Yellow-birds,"  "  Ducks  Fly  "  (313.  115). 


Not  at  Dodona  and  in  Arcadia  alone  has  the  dove  been  asso- 
ciated with  religion,  its  oracles,  its  mysteries,  and  its  symbolism. 
In  the  childhood  of  the  world,  according  to  the  great  Hebrew 
cosmologist,  "the  Spirit  of  God  moved  upon  the  face  of  the 
waters,"  and  a  later  bard  and  seer  of  our  own  race  reanimated 
the  ancient  figure  of  his  predecessor  in  all  its  pristine  strength, 
when  in  the  story  of  Paradise  lost  and  found  again,  he  told  how, 
at  the  beginning,  the  creative  spirit 

"  Dove-like  sat  brooding  o'er  the  vast  abyss." 

In  the  childhood  of  the  race,  it  was  a  dove  that  bore  to  the  few 
survivors  of  the  great  flood  the  branch  of  olive,  token  that  the 
anger  of  Jahveh  was  abated,  and  that  the  waters  no  longer  cov- 
ered the  whole  earth.  In  the  childhood  of  Christianity,  when  its 
founder  was  baptized  of  John  in  the  river  Jordan,  "  Lo,  the 
heavens  were  opened  unto  Him,  and  the  Spirit  of  God  descended 
like  a  dove,  and  lighted  on  Him,"  —  and  the  "  Heavenly  Dove  " 
still  beautifies  the  imagery  of  oratory  and  song,  the  art  and  sym- 
bolism of  the  great  churches,  its  inheritors.  In  the  childhood  of 
man  the  individual,  the  dove  has  also  found  warm  welcome.  At 
the  moment  of  the  birth  of  St.  Austrebertha  (630-704  a.d.),  as 
the  quaint  legend  tells,  "  the  chamber  was  filled  with  a  heavenly 
odour,  and  a  white  dove,  which  hovered  awhile  above  the  house, 
flew  into  the  chamber  and  settled  on  the  head  of  the  infant,"  and 
when  Catherine  of  Racconigi  (1486-1547  a.d.)  was  only  five  years 
old  "  a  dove,  white  as  snow,  flew  into  her  chamber  and  lighted  on 
her  shoulder";  strange  to  relate,  however,  the  infant  first  took 
the  bird  for  a  tool  of  Satan,  not  a  messenger  of  God.  When 
St  Briocus  of  Cardigan,  a  Welsh  saint  of  the  sixth  century, 
"  was  receiving  the  communion  for  the  first  time,  a  dove,  white  as 

182  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

snow,  settled  on  his  head,  and  the  abbot  knew  that  the  young  boy 
was  a  chosen  vessel  of  honour"  (191.  107,  108). 

In  a  Swedish  mother's  hymn  occurs  the  following  beautiful 
thought:  — 

"  There  sitteth  a  dove  so  white  and  fair, 
All  on  the  lily  spray, 
And  she  listeneth  how  to  Jesus  Christ 
The  little  children  pray. 

"  Lightly  she  spreads  her  friendly  wings, 
And  to  Heaven's  gate  hath  sped, 
And  unto  the  Father  in  Heaven  she  bears 
The  prayers  which  the  children  have  said. 

"  And  back  she  comes  from  Heaven's  gate, 
And  brings,  that  dove  so  mild, 
From  the  Father  in  Heaven,  who  hears  her  speak, 
A  blessing  on  every  child. 

"  Then,  children,  lift  up  a  pious  prayer ! 
It  hears  whatever  you  say  ; 
That  heavenly  dove  so  white  and  fair, 
All  on  the  lily  spray  "  (379.  255). 

The  bird-messenger  of  childhood  finds  its  analogue  in  the  beliefs 
of  some  primitive  tribes  that  certain  birds  have  access  to  the 
spirit-land,  and  are  the  bearers  of  tidings  from  the  departed.  Into 
the  same  category  fall  the  ancient  practice  of  releasing  a  dove  (or 
some  other  winged  creature)  at  the  moment  of  death  of  a  human 
being,  as  a  means  of  transport  of  his  soul  to  the  Elysian  fields, 
and  the  belief  that  the  soul  itself  took  its  flight  in  the  form  and 
semblance  of  a  dove  (509.  257). 

The  Haida  Indians,  of  British  Columbia,  think  that,  "in  the 
land  of  light,  children  often  transform  themselves  into  bears, 
seals,  and  birds,"  and  wonderful  tales  are  told  of  their  adventures. 

Hartley  Coleridge  found  for  the  guardian  angel  of  infancy,  no 
apter  figure  than  that  of  the  dove :  — 

"  Sweet  infant,  whom  thy  brooding  parents  love 
For  what  thou  art,  and  what  they  hope  to  see  thee, 
Unhallow'd  sprites,  and  earth-born  phantoms  flee  thee ; 
Thy  soft  simplicity,  a  hovering  dove, 


Children  and  the  Animal  World,  183 

That  still  keeps  watch  from  blight  and  bane  to  free  thee, 
"     With  its  weak  wings,  in  peaceful  care  outspread. 
Fanning  invisibly  thy  pillow'd  head, 
Strikes  evil  powers  with  reverential  dread. 
Beyond  the  sulphurous  bolts  of  fabled  Jove, 
Or  whatsoe'er  of  amulet  or  charm 
Fond  ignorance  devised  to  save  poor  souls  from  harm." 

Perhaps  the  sweetest  touch  of  childhood  in  all  Latin  literature 
is  that  charming  passage  in  Horace  {Carm.  Lib.  III.  4) :  — 

"  Me  fabulosae  Vulture  in  Apulo, 
Nutrices  extra  limen  Apulise, 
Ludo  fatigatoque  somno 

Fronde  nova  puerum  palumbes 

which  Milman  thus  translates :  — 

"  The  vagrant  infant  on  Mount  Vultur's  side, 
Beyond  my  childhood's  nurse,  Apulia's  bounds, 
By  play  fatigued  and  sleep. 
Did  the  poetic  doves 
"With  young  leaves  cover." 

The  amativeness  of  the  dove  has  lent  much  to  the  figurative 
language  of  that  second  golden  age,  that  other  Eden  where  love 
is  over  all.     Shenstone,  in  his  beautiful  pastoral,  says :  — 

"  I  have  found  out  a  gift  for  my  fair ; 
I  have  found  where  the  wood-pigeons  breed," 

and  the  "  love  of  the  turtle,"  "  billing  and  cooing,"  are  now  trans- 
ferred to  human  affection.  Venus,  the  goddess  of  love,  and  the 
boy-god  Cupid  ride  in  a  chariot  drawn  by  doves,  which  birds  were 
sacred  to  the  sea-born  child  of  Uranus.  In  the  springtime,  when 
"the  voice  of  the  turtle  is  heard  in  the  land,"  then  "a  young 
man's  fancy  lightly  turns  to  thoughts  of  love."  If,  from  the 
sacred  oaks  of  Dodona,  to  the  first  Greeks,  the  doves  disclosed 
the  oracles  of  Jove,  so  has  "the  moan  of  doves  in  immemorial 
elms  "  divulged  to  generation  after  generation  of  lovers  the  mis- 
sion of  his  son  of  the  bow  and  quiver. 

184  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 


What  the  wood-pigeon  was  to  Horace,  the  robin-redbreast  has 
been  to  the  children  of  old  England.  In  the  celebrated  ballad 
of  the  "  Children  in  the  Wood,"  we  are  told  that,  after  their 
murder  by  the  cruel  uncle, — 

"No  burial  these  pretty  babes 
Of  any  man  receives, 
Till  Robin  Redbreast  piously 
Did  cover  them  with  leaves." 

The  poet  Thomson  speaks  of  "the  redbreast  sacred  to  the 
household  gods,"  and  Gray,  in  a  stanza  which,  since  the  edition 
of  1753,  has  been  omitted  from  the  Elegy,  wrote :  — 

"  There  scattered  oft,  the  earliest  of  the  year. 
By  hands  unseen  are  frequent  violets  found  ; 
The  robin  loves  to  build  and  warble  there. 
And  little  footsteps  lightly  print  the  ground." 

Dr.  Kobert  Eletcher  (447)  has  shown  to  what  extent  the  red- 
breast figures  in  early  English  poetry,  and  the  belief  in  his  pious 
care  for  the  dead  and  for  children  is  found  in  Germany,  Brittany, 
and  other  parts  of  the  continent  of  Europe.  In  England  the 
robin  is  the  children's  favourite  bird,  and  rhymes  and  stories 
in  his  honour  abound,  —  most  famous  is  the  nursery  song,  "Who 
killed  Cock  Kobin?" 

A  sweet  legend  of  the  Greek  Church  tells  us  that  "  Our  Lord 
used  to  feed  the  robins  round  his  mother's  door,  when  a  boy; 
moreover,  that  the  robin  never  left  the  sepulchre  till  the  Resur- 
rection, and,  at  the  Ascension,  joined  in  the  angels'  song."  The 
popular  imagination,  before  which  the  robin  appears  as  "the  pious 
bird  with  the  scarlet  breast,"  found  no  difficulty  in  assigning  a 
cause  for  the  colour  of  its  plumage.  One  legend,  current  amongst 
Catholic  peoples,  has  it  that  "the  robin  was  commissioned  by  the 
Deity  to  carry  a  drop  of  water  to  the  souls  of  unbaptized  infants 
in  hell,  and  its  breast  was  singed  in  piercing  the  flames."  In  his 
poem  The  Rohin,  W^hittier  has  versified  the  story  from  a  Welsh 
source.  An  old  Welsh  lady  thus  reproves  her  grandson,  who  had 
tossed  a  stone  at  the  robin  hopping  about  in  the  apple-tree :  — 

Children  and  the  Animal  World.  185 

"  •  Nay  ! '  said  the  grandmother  ;  '  have  you  not  heard. 
My  poor,  bad  boy  !  of  the  fiery  pit, 
And  how,  drop  by  drop,  this  merciful  bird 
Carries  the  water  that  quenches  it  ? 

"  '  He  brings  cool  dew  in  his  little  bill, 
And  lets  it  fall  on  the  souls  of  sin ; 
You  can  see  the  mark  on  his  red  breast  still 
Of  fires  that  scorch  as  he  drops  it  in.'  " 

Another  popular  story,  hoTvever,  relates  that  -when  Christ  was 
on  His  way  to  Calvary,  toiling  beneath  the  burden  of  the  cross, 
the  robin,  in  its  kindness,  plucked  a  thorn  from  the  crown  that 
oppressed  His  brow,  and  the  blood  of  the  divine  martyr  dyed  the 
breast  of  the  bird,  which  ever  since  has  borne  the  insignia  of  its 
charity.  A  variant  of  the  same  legend  makes  the  thorn  wound 
the  bird  itself  and  its  own  blood  dye  its  breast. 

According  to  a  curious  legend  of  the  Chippeway  Indians,  a  stern 
father  once  made  his  young  son  undergo  the  fasting  necessary  to 
obtain  a  powerful  guardian  spirit.  After  bravely  holding  out  for 
nine  days,  he  appealed  to  his  father  to  allow  him  to  give  up,  but 
the  latter  would  not  hear  of  it,  and  by  the  eleventh  day  the  boy 
lay  as  one  dead.  At  dawn  the  next  morning,  the  father  came 
with  the  promised  food.  Looking  through  a  hole  in  the  lodge, 
he  saw  that  his  son  had  painted  his  breast  and  shoulders  as  far 
as  he  could  reach  with  his  hands.  When  he  went  into  the  lodge, 
he  saw  him  change  into  a  beautiful  bird  and  fly  away.  Such  was 
the  origin  of  the  first  robin-redbreast  (440.  210).  Whittier,  in 
his  poem,  Hoio  the  Robin  Came,  has  turned  the  tale  of  the  Red 
Men  into  song.  As  the  father  gazed  about  him,  he  saw  that  on 
the  lodge-top  — 

"  Sat  a  bird,  unknown  before, 
And,  as  if  with  human  tongue, 
'  Mourn  me  not,'  it  said,  or  sung ; 
'  I,  a  bird,  am  still  your  son, 
Happier  than  if  hunter  fleet, 
Or  a  brave  before  your  feet 
Laying  scalps  in  battle  won. 
Friend  of  man,  my  song  shall  cheer 
Lodge  and  corn-land  ;  hovering  near, 
To  each  wigwam  I  shall  bring 
Tidings  of  the  coming  spring ; 

186  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

Every  child  my  voice  shall  know 
In  the  moon  of  melting  snow 
When  the  maple's  red  bud  swells, 
And  the  wind-flower  lifts  its  bells. 
As  their  fond  companion 
Men  shall  henceforth  own  your  son, 
And  my  song  shall  testify 
That  of  human  kin  am  I.'  " 


The  Lieblingsvogel  of  German  children  is  the  stork,  who,  as 
parents  say,  brings  them  their  little  brothers  and  sisters,  and  who 
is  remembered  in  countless  folk  and  children's  rhymes.  The 
mass  of  child-literature  in  which  the  stork  figures  is  enormous. 
Ploss  has  a  good  deal  to  say  of  this  famous  bird,  and  Carstens 
has  made  it  the  subject  of  a  brief  special  study,  — "  The 
Stork  as  a  Sacred  Bird  in  Folk-Speech  and  Child-Song"  (198). 
The  latter  says :  "  It  is  with  a  sort  of  awe  (JEhrfurcht)  that 
the  child  looks  upon  this  sacred  bird,  when,  returning  with  the 
spring  he  settles  down  on  the  roof,  throwing  back  his  beak 
and  greeting  the  new  home  with  a  flap  of  his  wings ;  or  when, 
standing  now  on  one  foot,  now  on  the  other,  he  looks  so  sol- 
emnly at  things,  that  one  would  think  he  was  devoutly  medi- 
tating over  something  or  other;  or,  again,  when,  on  his  long 
stilt-like  legs,  he  gravely  strides  over  the  meadows.  With  great 
attention  we  listened  as  children  to  the  strange  tales  and  songs 
which  related  to  this  sacred  bird,  as  our  mother  told  them  to  us 
and  then  added  with  solemn  mien, '  where  he  keeps  himself  during 
the  winter  is  not  really  known,'  or,  '  he  flies  away  over  the  Leber- 
meer,  whither  no  human  being  can  follow.'  '  Storks  are  enchanted 
(verwiinscht)  men,'  my  mother  used  to  say,  and  in  corroboration 
told  the  following  story :  '  Once  upon  a  time  a  stork  broke  a  leg. 
The  owner  of  the  house  upon  which  the  stork  had  its  nest,  inter- 
ested himself  in  the  unfortunate  creature,  took  care  of  it  and 
attended  to  it,  and  soon  the  broken  leg  was  well  again.  Some 
years  later,  it  happened  that  the  kind-hearted  man,  who  was  a 
mariner,  was  riding  at  anchor  near  the  North  Sea  Coast,  and  the 
anchor  stuck  fast  to  the  bottom,  so  that  nothing  remained  but  for 
the  sailor  to  dive  into  the  depths  of  the  sea.     This  he  did,  and 

Children  and  the  Animal  World.  187 

lo !  he  found  the  anchor  clinging  to  a  sunken  church-steeple.  He 
set  it 'free,  but,  out  of  curiosity,  went  down  still  deeper,  and  far 
down  below  came  to  a  magnificent  place,  the  inhabitants  of  which 
made  him  heartily  welcome.  An  old  man  addressed  him  and  in- 
formed him  that  he  had  been  the  stork  whose  leg  the  sailor  had 
once  made  well,  and  that  the  latter  was  now  in  the  real  home  of 
the  storks.' "  Carstens  compares  this  story  with  that  of  Frau 
Holle,  whose  servant  the  stork,  who  brings  the  little  children  out 
of  the  child-fountain  of  the  Gotterburg,  would  seem  to  be.  In 
North  Germany  generally  the  storks  are  believed  to  be  human 
beings  in  magical  metamorphosis,  and  hence  no  harm  must  be 
done  them.  Between  the  household,  upon  whose  roof  the  stork 
takes  up  his  abode,  and  the  family  of  the  bird,  a  close  relation  is 
thought  to  subsist.  If  his  young  ones  die,  so  will  the  children  of 
the  house ;  if  no  eggs  are  laid,  no  children  will  be  born  that  year ; 
if  a  stork  is  seen  to  light  upon  a  house,  it  is  regarded  by  the 
Wends  of  Lusatia  as  an  indication  that  a  child  will  be  born  there 
the  same  year;  in  Switzerland  the  peasant  woman  about  to  give 
birth  to  a  child  chants  a  brief  appeal  to  the  stork  for  aid.  A 
great  variety  of  domestic,  meteorological,  and  other  superstitions 
are  connected  with  the  bird,  its  actions,  and  mode  of  life.  The 
common  Low  German  name  of  the  stork,  Adehar,  is  said  to  mean 
"  luck-bringer " ;  in  Dutch,  he  is  called  ole  vaer,  "old  father." 
After  him  the  wood-anemone  is  called  in  Low  German  Hannoter- 
blume,  " stork' s-flower."  An  interesting  tale  is  "The  Storks,"  in 
Hans  Christian  Andersen. 


In  the  Golden  Age,  as  the  story  runs,  men  were  able  to  hold 
converse  with  the  birds  of  the  air  and  the  beasts  of  the  field,  nor 
had  a  diversity  of  dialects  yet  sprung  up  among  them.  In 
Eden  of  old  the  whole  world  was  of  one  tongue  and  one  speech ; 
nay  more,  men  talked  with  the  gods  and  with  God.  !Many 
legends  of  primitive  peoples  there  are  telling  how  confusion 
first  arose,  —  every  continent  has  its  Babel-myth,  —  and  how 
men  came  at  last  to  be  unable  to  comprehend  each  other's 
speech.  The  Indians  of  Nova  Scotia  say  that  this  occurred 
when  Gluskap,  the  cvdture-hero  of  the  Alicmacs,  after  giving  a 

188  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

paxting  banquet  to  all  creatures  of  earth,  sea,  and  air,  '•  entered 
his  canoe  in  the  Basin  of  Minas,  and,  sailing  westward  in  the 
moonlight,  disappeared.  Then  the  wolves,  bears,  and  beavers, 
who  had  before  been  brothers,  lost  the  gift  of  common  language, 
and  birds  and  beasts,  hating  one  another,  fled  into  the  distant 
forests,  where,  to  this  day,  the  wolf  howls  and  the  loon  utters  its 
sad  notes  of  woe"  (418.  185). 

The  Mexican  legend  of  the  deluge  states  that  the  vessel  in 
which  were  Coxcox, — the  Mexican  Noah,  —  and  his  wife,  Xochi- 
quetzal,  stranded  on  a  peak  of  Colhuacan.  To  them  were  born 
fifteen  sons,  who,  however,  all  came  into  the  world  dumb,  but  a 
dove  gave  them  fifteen  tongues,  and  thence  are  descended  the 
fifteen  languages  and  tribes  of  Anahuac  (509.  517). 

In  later  ages,  among  other  peoples,  the  knowledge  of  the  for- 
gotten speech  of  the  lower  creation  was  possessed  by  priests  and 
seers  alone,  or  ascribed  to  innocent  little  children,  —  some  of  the 
power  and  wisdom  of  the  bygone  Golden  Age  of  the  race  is  held 
yet  to  linger  with  the  golden  age  of  childhood.     In  the  beautiful 

lines,  — 

"  O  du  Kindermund,  o  du  Kindermund, 
Unbewuszter  Weisheit  froh, 
Vogelsprachekund,  vogelsprachekund, 
Wie  Salamo ! " 

the  poet  Eiickert  attributes  to  the  child  that  knowledge  of  the 
language  of  birds,  which  the  popular  belief  of  the  East  made  part 
of  the  lore  of  the  wise  King  Solomon.  Weil  (547.  191)  gives  the 
Mussulman  version  of  the  original  legend  :  — 

"  In  him  [Solomon]  David  placed  implicit  confidence,  and  was 
guided  by  him  in  the  most  difficult  questions,  for  he  had  heard, 
in  the  night  of  his  [Solomon's]  birth,  the  angel  Gabriel  exclaim, 
*  Satan's  dominion  is  drawing  to  its  close,  for  this  night  a  child  is 
born,  to  whom  Iblis  and  all  his  hosts,  together  with  all  his  de- 
scendants, shall  be  subject.  The  earth,  air,  and  water  with  all  the 
creatures  that  live  therein,  shall  be  his  servants.  He  shall  be 
gifted  with  nine-tenths  of  all  the  wisdom  and  knowledge  which 
Allah  has  granted  to  mankind,  and  understand  not  only  the  lan- 
guages of  men,  but  those  also  of  beasts  and  birds.' "  Some  recol- 
lection of  this  appears  in  Ecclesiastes  (x.  20),  where  we  read, 
"  For  a  bird  of  the  air  shall  carry  the  voice,  and  that  which  hath 

Children  and  the  Animal  World.  189 

wings  shall  tell  the  matter,"  and  in  our  own  familiar  saying  "  a 
little  bird  told  me,"  as  well  as  in  the  Bulbul-hezar  or  talking  bird 
of  the  Arabian  NigJUs,  and  its  imitation  "  the  little  green  bird 
who  tells  everything,"  Ln  the  Fairy  Tales  of  the  Comtesse  d'Aunoy, 
The  interpretation  of  the  cries  of  birds  and  animals  into  human 
speech  has  also  some  light  thrown  upon  it  from  this  source. 
Various  aspects  of  this  subject  have  been  considered  by  Hopf 
(474),  Swainson  (539),  Treichel  (372),  Brunk,  Grimm  (462).  The 
use  of  certain  birds  as  oracles  by  children  is  well  kno^Ti.  A  clas- 
sical example  is  the  question  of  the  Low  German  child :  — 

"  Kukuk  van  He  wen, 

"Wi  lank  sail  ik  lewen  ?  ' 
["  Cuckoo  of  Heaven, 

How  long  am  I  to  live  ?"] 

Of  King  Solomon  we  are  told:  "He  conversed  longest  with 
the  birds,  both  on  account  of  their  delicious  language,  which  he 
knew  as  well  as  his  own,  as  also  for  the  beautiful  proverbs  that 
are  current  among  them."  The  interpretation  of  the  songs  of  the 
various  birds  is  given  as  follows :  — 

The  cock  :  "  Ye  thoughtless  men,  remember  your  Creator." 
The  dove :  "  All  things  pass  away;  Allah  alone  is  etemaL" 
The  eagle :  "  Let  our  life  be  ever  so  long,  yet  it  must  end  in  death." 
The  hoopoo:  "  He  that  shows  no  mercy,  shall  not  obtain  mercy." 
The  kata :  "  Whosoever  can  keep  silence  goes  through  life  most  securely." 
The  nightingale :  "  Contentment  is  the  greatest  happiness." 
The  peacock :  "  As  thou  judgest,  so  shalt  thou  be  judged." 
The  pelican :  "  Blessed  be  Allah  in  Heaven  and  Earth." 
The  raven :  "  The  farther  from  mankind,  the  pleasanter." 
The  swallow:  "  Do  good,  for  you  shall  be  rewarded  hereafter. 
The  syrdak:  "Turn  to  Allah,  O  ye  sinners." 

The  turtle-dove:  "It  were  better  for  many  a  creature  had  it  never  been 

The  King,  it  appears,  chose  the  hoopoo  and  the  cock  for  his 
companions,  and  appointed  the  doves  to  dwell  in  the  temple 
which  he  was  to  erect  (547.  200,  201).  In  fairy-tale  and  folk-lore 
bird-speech  constantly  appears.  A  good  example  is  the  story 
"  Wat  man  warm  kann,  wenn  man  blot  de  Vageln  richti  verstan 
deit,"  included  by  Klaus  Groth  in  his  Quickborn. 

190  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

In  the  Micmac  legend  of  the  Animal  Tamers,  by  collecting  the 
"  horns  "  of  the  various  animals  a  youthful  hero  comes  to  under- 
stand their  language  (521.  347). 

Longfellow,  in  his  account  of  "Hiawatha's  Childhood,"  has 
not  forgotten  to  make  use  of  the  Indian  tradition  of  the  lore  of 
language  of  bird  and  of  beast  possessed  by  the  child :  — 

"  Then  the  little  Hiawatha 
Learned  of  every  bird  its  language, 
Learned  their  names  and  all  their  secrets, 
How  they  built  their  nests  in  summer, 
Where  they  hid  themselves  in  winter. 
Talked  with  them  whene'er  he  met  them, 
Called  them  '  Hiawatha's  Chickens.' 

"  Of  all  the  beasts  he  learned  the  language. 
Learned  their  names  and  all  their  secrets. 
How  the  beavers  built  their  lodges, 
Where  the  squirrels  hid  their  acorns. 
How  the  reindeer  ran  so  swiftly, 
Why  the  rabbit  was  so  timid, 
Talked  with  them  whene'er  he  met  them. 
Called  them  '  Hiawatha's  Brothers.'  " 

In  the  Middle  Ages  the  understanding  of  the  language  of  birds, 
their  Latin,  as  it  was  called,  ranked  as  the  highest  achievement 
of  human  learning,  the  goal  of  wisdom  and  knowledge,  and  the 
thousand  rhyming  questions  asked  of  birds  by  children  to-day  are 
evidence  of  a  time  when  communication  with  them  was  deemed 
possible.  Some  remembrance  of  this  also  lingers  in  not  a  few  of 
the  lullabies  and  nursery-songs  of  a  type  corresponding  to  the 
following  from  Schleswig-Holstein :  — 

•'  H6r  mal,  Ititje  Kind 
Wo  diit  liitje  Vagel  singt 
Baben  in  de  Hai ! 
Loop,  liit  Kind,  un  hal  mi  dat  liit  Ei." 

Among  the  child-loving  Eskimo  we  find  many  tales  in  which 
children  and  animals  are  associated;  very  common  are  stories 
of  children  metamorphosed  into  birds  and  beasts.  Turner  has 
obtained  several  legends  of  this  sort  from  the  Eskimo  of  the 
Ungava  district  in  Labrador.     In  one  of  these,  wolves  are  the 

Children  and  the  Animal  World.  191 

gaunt  and  hungry  children  of  a  woman  who  had  not  wherewithal 
to  feed  her  numerous  progeny,  and  so  they  were  turned  into 
ravening  beasts  of  prey ;  in  another  the  raven  and  the  loon  were 
children,  whom  their  father  sought  to  paint,  and  the  loon's  spots 
are  evidence  of  the  attempt  to  this  day ;  in  a  third  the  sea-pigeons 
or  guillemots  are  children  who  were  changed  into  these  birds  for 
having  scared  away  some  seals.  The  prettiest  story,  however,  is 
that  of  the  origin  of  the  swallows :  Once  there  were  some  children 
who  were  wonderfully  wise,  so  wise  indeed  that  they  came  to  be 
called  zulugagnak,  "  like  the  raven,"  a  bird  that  knows  the  past 
and  the  future.  One  day  they  were  playing  on  the  edge  of  a 
cliff  near  the  village,  and  building  toy-houses,  when  they  were 
changed  into  birds.  They  did  not  forget  their  childish  occupa- 
tion, however,  and,  even  to  this  day,  the  swallows  come  to  the 
cliff  to  build  their  nests  or  houses  of  mud,  — "  even  the  raven 
does  not  molest  them,  and  Eskimo  children  love  to  watch  them  " 
(544.  262,  263).  From  time  immemorial  have  the  life  and  actions 
of  the  brute  creation  been  associated  with  the  first  steps  of  edu- 
cation and  learning  in  the  child- 

Child-Life  and  Education  in  General. 

The  mother's  heart  is  the  child's  school-room.  — Henry  Ward  Beecher. 

The  father  is  known  from  the  child.  —  German  Proverb. 

Learn  young,  learn  fair, 

Learn  auld,  learn  mair.  —  Scotch  Proverb. 

We  bend  the  tree  when  it  is  young.  —  Bulgarian  Proverb. 

Fools  and  bairns  should  na  see  things  half  done. — Scotch  Proverb. 

No  one  is  born  master.  —  Italian  Proverb. 

Mother  as  Teacher. 

Nihil  est  in  intellectu  quod  non  prius  in  sensu  is  a  favourite  dic- 
tum of  philosopliy;  primitive  peoples  might,  perhaps,  be  cred- 
ited with  a  somewhat  different  crystallization  of  thought:  nihil 
est  in  puero  quod  non  prius  in  parenti,  "  nothing  is  in  the  child 
which  was  not  before  in  the  parent,"  for  belief  in  prenatal  in- 
fluence of  parent  upon  child  is  widely  prevalent.  The  following 
remarks,  which  were  written  of  the  semi-civilized  peoples  of 
Annam  and  Tonquin,  may  stand,  with  suitable  change  of  terms, 
for  very  many  barbarous  and  savage  races :  — 

"  The  education  of  the  children  begins  even  before  they  come 
into  the  world.  The  prospective  mother  is  at  once  submitted  to 
a  kind  of  material  and  moral  rdgime  sanctioned  by  custom. 
Gross  viands  are  removed  from  her  table,  and  her  slightest  move- 
ments are  regarded  that  they  may  be  regular  and  majestic.  She 
is  expected  to  listen  to  the  reading  of  good  authors,  to  music  and 
moral  chants,  and  to  attend  learned  societies,  in  order  that  she 
may  fortify  her  mind  by  amusements  of  an  elevated  character. 
And  she  endeavours,  by  such  discipline,  to  assure  to  the  child 


Primitive  Pedagogy.  193 

whom  she  is  about  to  bring  into  the  world,  intelligence,  docility, 
and  fitness  for  the  duties  imposed  by  social  life  "  (518.  XXXI.  629). 

Among  primitive  peoples  these  ceremonies,  dietings,  doctorings, 
tabooings,  number  legion,  as  may  be  read  in  Ploss  and  Zmigrodzki. 

The  influence  of  the  mother  upon  her  child,  beginning  long 
before  birth,  continued  in  some  parts  of  the  world  until  long  after 
puberty.  The  Spartan  mothers  even  preserved  "a  power  over 
their  sons  when  arrived  at  manhood,"  and  at  the  puberty-dance,  by 
which  the  Australian  leaves  childhood  behind  to  enter  upon  man's 
estate,  his  significant  cry  is :  "  My  mother  sees  me  no  more ! " 
(398.  153).  Among  the  Chinese,  "at  the  ceremony  of  going  out 
of  childhood,  the  passage  from  boyhood  into  manhood,  the  goddess 
of  children  '  Mother,'  ceases  to  have  the  superintendence  of  the 
boy  or  girl,  and  the  individual  comes  under  the  government  of  the 
gods  in  general." 

That  women  are  teachers  born,  even  the  most  uncultured  of 
human  races  have  not  failed  to  recognize,  and  the  folk-faith  in 
their  ministrations  is  world-wide  and  world-old;  for,  as  Mrs. 
Browning  tells  us :  — 

"  "Women  know 
The  way  to  rear  up  children  (to  be  just); 
They  know  a  simple,  merry,  tender  knack 
Of  tying  sashes,  fitting  baby -shoes. 
And  stringing  pretty  words  that  make  no  sense, 
And  kissing  full  sense  into  empty  words  ; 
Which  things  are  corals  to  cut  life  upon. 
Although  such  trifles." 

Intellectually,  as  well  as  physically,  —  as  the  etymology  of  the 
name  seems  to  indicate,  —  the  mother  is  the  "former"  of  her 
child.  As  Henry  Ward  Beecher  has  well  said,  "  the  mother's 
heart  is  the  child's  school-room."  Well  might  the  Egyptian 
mother-goddess  say  (167.  261) :  "  I  am  the  mother  who  shaped 
thy  beauties,  who  suckled  thee  with  milk ;  I  give  thee  with  my 
mUk  festal  things,  that  penetrate  thy  limbs  with  life,  strength, 
and  youth ;  I  make  thee  to  become  the  great  ruler  of  Egypt,  lord 
of  the  space  which  the  sun  circles  round."  In  the  land  of  the 
Pharaohs  they  knew  in  some  dim  fashion  that  "  the  hand  that 
rocks  the  cradle  is  the  hand  that  rules  the  world." 

The  extensive  rdle  of  the  mother,  as  a  teacher  of  the  practical 

194  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

arts  of  life,  may  be  seen  from  the  book  of  Professor  Mason  (113). 
Language,  religion,  the  social  arts,  house-building,  skin-dressing, 
weaving,  spinning,  animal-domestication,  agriculture,  are,  with 
divers  primitive  peoples,  since  they  have  in  great  part  originated 
with  her,  or  been  promoted  chiefly  by  her  efforts,  left  to  woman 
as  teacher  and  instructor,  and  well  has  the  mother  done  her  work 
all  over  the  globe. 

The  function  of  the  mother  as  priestess  —  for  woman  has  been 
the  preserver,  as,  to  so  large  an  extent,  she  has  been  the  creator,  of 
religion  —  has  been  exercised  age  after  age,  and  among  people 
after  people.  Henry  Ward  Beecher  has  said :  "  Every  mother  is 
a  priestess  ordained  by  God  Himself,"  and  Professor  Mason 
enlarges  the  same  thought :  "  Scarce!}'-  has  the  infant  mind  begun 
to  think,  ere  this  perpetual  priestess  lights  the  fires  of  reverence 
and  keeps  them  ever  burning,  like  a  faithful  vestal "  (112.  12). 

Though  women  and  mothers  have  often  been  excluded  from  the 
public  or  the  secret  ceremonials  and  observations  of  religion,  the 
household  in  primitive  and  in  modern  times  has  been  the  temple, 
of  whose  penetralia  they  alone  have  been  the  ministers. 


Tarde,  in  his  monograph  on  the  "  Laws  of  Imitation,"  has  shown 
the  great  influence  exerted  among  peoples  of  all  races,  of  all 
grades  and  forms  of  culture,  by  imitation,  conscious  or  uncon- 
scious, —  a  factor  of  the  highest  importance  even  at  the  present 
day  and  among  those  communities  of  men  most  advanced  and 
progressive.  Speaking  a  little  too  broadly,  perhaps,  he  says 
(541.  15) :  — 

"All  the  resemblances,  of  social  origin,  noticed  in  the  social 
world  are  the  direct  or  indirect  result  of  imitation  in  all  its 
forms,  —  custom,  fashion,  sympathy,  obedience,  instruction,  edu- 
cation, naive  or  deliberate  imitation.  Hence  the  excellence  of 
that  modern  method  which  explains  doctrines  or  institutions  by 
their  history.  This  tendency  can  only  be  generalized.  Great 
inventors  and  great  geniuses  do  sometimes  stumble  upon  the 
same  thing  together,  but  these  coincidences  are  very  rare.  And 
when  they  do  really  occur,  they  always  have  their  origin  in  a 
fund  of  common  instruction  upon   which,  independent  of   one 

Primitive  Pedagogy.  195 

another,  the  two  authors  of  the  same  invention  have  drawn ;  and 
this  fund  consists  of  a  mass  of  traditions  of  the  past,  of  experi- 
ments, rude  or  more  or  less  arranged,  and  transmitted  imitatively 
by  language,  the  great  vehicle  of  all  imitations." 

In  her  interesting  article  on  "Imitation  in  Children,"  Jliss 
Haskell  observes:  "That  the  imitative  faculty  is  what  makes 
the  human  being  educable,  that  it  is  what  has  made  progressive 
civilization  possible,  has  always  been  known  by  philosophical 
educators.  The  energy  of  the  child  must  pass  from  potentiality 
to  actuality,  and  it  does  so  by  the  path  of  imitation  because  this 
path  offers  the  least  resistance  or  the  greatest  attraction,  or  per- 
haps because  there  is  no  other  road.  Whatever  new  and  striking 
things  he  sees  in  the  movements  or  condition  of  objects  about 
him,  provided  he  already  has  the  experience  necessary  to  apper- 
ceive  this  particular  thing,  he  imitates  "  (260.  31). 

In  the  pedagogy  of  primitive  peoples  imitation  has  an  exten- 
sive role  to  play.  Of  the  Twana  Indians,  of  the  State  of  Wash- 
ington, Eev.  Mr.  Eells  observes :  "  Children  are  taught  continually, 
from  youth  until  grown,  to  mimic  the  occupations  of  their  elders." 
They  have  games  of  ball,  jumping  and  running  races,  and  for- 
merly "  the  boys  played  at  shooting  with  bows  and  arrows  at  a 
mark,  and  with  spears,  throwing  at  a  mark,  with  an  equal  number 
of  children  on  each  side,  and  sometimes  the  older  ones  joined  in." 
Now,  however,  "the  boys  mimic  their  seniors  in  the  noise  and 
singing  and  gambling,  but  without  the  gambling."  The  girls 
play  with  dolls,  and  sometimes  "  the  girls  and  boys  both  play  in 
canoes,  and  stand  on  half  of  a  small  log,  six  feet  long  and  a  foot 
wide,  and  paddle  around  in  the  water  with  a  small  stick  an  inch 
in  thickness;  and,  in  fact,  play  at  most  things  which  they  see 
their  seniors  do,  both  whites  and  Indians  "  (437.  90,  91). 

Concerning  the  Seminoles  of  Florida,  we  are  told :  "  The  baby, 
weU  into  the  world,  learns  very  quickly  that  he  is  to  make  his 
own  way  through  it  as  best  he  may.  His  mother  is  prompt  to 
nourish  him,  and  solicitous  in  her  care  for  him  if  he  falls  ill ; 
but,  as  far  as  possible,  she  goes  her  own  way  and  leaves  the  little 
fellow  to  go  his."  Very  early  in  life  the  child  learns  to  help  and 
to  imitate  its  elders.  "No  small  amount,"  Mr.  MacCauley  tells 
us,  "of  the  labour  in  a  Seminole  household  is  done  by  children, 
even  as  young  as  four  years  of  age.     They  can  stir  the  soup 

196  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

wliile  it  is  boiling;  they  can  aid  in  kneading  the  dough  for 
bread ;  they  can  wash  the  '  koonti '  root,  and  even  pound  it ;  they 
can  watch  and  replenish  the  fire;  they  contribute  in  this  and 
many  other  small  ways  to  the  necessary  work  of  the  home " 
(496.  497,  498). 

Of  the  Indians  of  British  Guiana,  Mr.  im  Thurn  reports :  "  As 
soon  as  the  children  can  run  about,  they  are  left  almost  to  them- 
selves ;  or,  rather,  they  begin  to  mimic  their  parents.  As  with 
the  adults,  so  with  the  children.  Just  as  the  grown-up  woman 
works  incessantly,  while  the  men  alternately  idle  and  hunt,  so 
the  boys  run  wild,  playing  not  such  concerted  games  as  in  other 
parts  of  the  world  more  usually  form  child's  play,  but  only  with 
mimic  bows  and  arrows ;  but  the  girls,  as  soon  as  they  can  walk, 
begin  to  help  the  older  women.  Even  the  youngest  girl  can  peel 
a  few  cassava  roots,  watch  a  pot  on  the  fire,  or  collect  and  carry 
home  a  few  sticks  of  firewood.  The  games  of  the  boy  are  all 
such  as  train  him  to  fish  and  hunt  when  he  grows  up ;  the  girl's 
occupations  teach  her  woman's  work  "  (477.  219).  The  children 
imitate  their  elders  in  other  ways  also,  for  in  nearly  every  Indian 
house  are  to  be  seen  toy  vessels  of  clay  ;  for  "  while  the  Indian 
women  of  Guiana  are  shaping  the  clay,  their  children,  imitating 
them,  make  small  pots  and  goglets "  (477.  298).  And  in  like 
manner  have  been  born,  no  doubt,  among  other  peoples,  some  of 
the  strange  freaks  of  art  which  puzzle  the  connoisseurs  in  the 
museums  of  Europe  and  America. 

Mr.  Powers,  speaking  of  the  domestic  economy  of  the  Acho- 
m§,wi  Indians  of  California,  says :  "  An  Achomawi  mother  seldom 
teaches  her  daughters  any  of  the  arts  of  barbaric  housekeeping 
before  their  marriage.  They  learn  them  by  imitation  and  ex- 
periment after  they  grow  old  enough  to  perceive  the  necessity 
thereof"  (519.  271).  This  peculiar  neglect,  however,  is  not 
entirely  absent  from  our  modern  civilization,  for  until  very 
recently  no  subject  has  been  so  utterly  overlooked  as  the  proper 
training  of  young  girls  for  their  future  duties  as  mothers  and 
housekeepers.  The  Achomawi,  curiously  enough,  have  the  fol- 
lowing custom,  which  helps,  no  doubt,  the  wife  whose  education 
has  been  so  imperfect :  "  The  parents  are  expected  to  establish 
a  young  couple  in  their  lodge,  provide  them  with  the  needful  bas- 
ketry, and  furnish  them  with  cooked  food  for  some  months,  which 

Primitive  Pedagogy.  197 

indulgent  parents  sometimes  continue  for  a  year  or  even  longer ; 
so  that'  the  young  people  have  a  more  real  honeymoon  than  is 
vouchsafed  to  most  civilized  people." 

Among  the  Battas  of  Sumatra,  "  It  is  one  of  the  morning  duties 
of  women  and  girls,  even  down  to  children  of  four  and  five  years 
old,  to  bring  drinking-water  in  the  gargitis,  a  water-vessel  made 
of  a  thick  stalk  of  bamboo.  The  size  and  strength  of  growing 
girls  are  generally  measured  by  the  number  of  gargitis  they  can 
carry  "  (518.  XXII.  110). 

Of  the  KafiSr  children  Theal  informs  us :  "  At  a  very  early  age 
they  commence  trials  of  skill  against  each  other  in  throwing 
knobbed  sticks  and  imitation  assegais.  They  may  often  be  seen 
enjoying  this  exercise  in  little  groups,  those  of  the  same  age 
keeping  together,  for  there  is  no  greater  tyrant  in  the  world  than 
a  big  Kaffir  boy  over  his  younger  fellows ;  when  above  nine  or 
ten  years  old  they  practise  sham-fighting  with  sticks ;  an  imitar 
tion  hunt  is  another  of  their  boyish  diversions  "  (543.  220). 

Among  the  Apaches,  as  we  learn  from  Reclus:  "The  child 
remains  with  its  mother  until  it  can  pluck  certain  fruits  for 
itself,  and  has  caught  a  rat  by  its  own  unaided  efforts.  After 
this  exploit,  it  goes  and  comes  as  it  lists,  is  free  and  independent, 
master  of  its  civil  and  political  rights,  and  soon  lost  in  the  main 
body  of  the  horde  "  (523.  131). 

On  the  Andaman  Islands,  "little  boys  hunt  out  swarms  of 
bees  in  the  woods  and  drive  them  away  by  fire.  They  are  also 
expected  regularly  to  collect  wood."  From  their  tenth  year  they 
are  "  accustomed  to  use  little  bows  and  arrows,  and  often  attain 
great  skill  in  shooting."  The  girls  "seek  among  the  coral-reefs 
and  in  the  swamps  to  catch  little  fish  in  hand-nets."  The  Solo- 
mon Islands  boy,  as  soon  as  he  can  walk  a  little,  goes  along 
with  his  elders  to  hunt  and  fish  (326.  I.  6).  Among  the  Somali, 
of  northeastern  Africa,  the  boys  are  given  small  spears  when 
ten  or  twelve  years  old  and  are  out  guarding  the  milk-camels 
(481  (1891).  163). 

Of  the  Eskimo  of  Baffin  Land,  Dr.  Boas  tells  us  that  the 
children,  "when  about  twelve  years  old,  begin  to  help  their 
parents ;  the  girls  sewing  and  preparing  skins,  the  boys  accom- 
panying their  fathers  in  hunting  expeditions  "  (402.  566).  Mr. 
Powers  records  that  he  has  seen  a  Wailakki  Indian  boy  of  four- 

198  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

teen  "  run  a  rabbit  to  cover  in  ten  minutes,  split  a  stick  fine  at 
one  end,  thrust  it  down  the  hole,  twist  it  into  its  scut,  and  pull 
it  out  alive  "  (519.  118). 

Among  the  games  and  amusements  of  the  Andamanese  chil- 
dren,  of  whom  he  says  "  though  not  borrowed  from  aliens,  their 
pastimes,  in  many  instances,  bear  close  resemblance  to  those  in 
vogue  among  children  in  this  and  other  lands ;  notably  is  this  the 
case  with  regard  to  those  known  to  us  as  blind-man's  buff,  leap- 
frog, and  hide-and-seek,"  —  Mr.  Man  enumerates  the  following : 
mock  pig-hunting  (played  after  dark) ;  mock  turtle-catching  (played 
in  the  sea) ;  going  after  the  Evil  Spirit  of  the  Woods ;  swinging 
by  means  of  long  stout  creepers;  swimming-races  (sometimes 
canoe-races) ;  pushing  their  way  with  rapidity  through  the  jungle ; 
throwing  objects  upwards,  or  skimming  through  the  air ;  playing 
at  " duck-and-drakes  ";  shooting  at  moving  objects;  wrestling  on 
the  sand ;  hunting  small  crabs  and  fish  and  indulging  in  sham 
banquets,  comparable  to  the  "  doll's  feast  "  with  us ;  making  min- 
iature canoes  and  floating  them  about  in  the  water  (498.  165). 

Education  of  Boys  and  Girls. 

With  the  Dakota  Indians,  according  to  Mr.  Riggs,  the  grand- 
father and  grandmother  are  often  the  principal  teachers  of  the 
child.  Under  the  care  of  the  father  and  grandfather  the  boy 
learns  to  shoot,  hunt,  and  fish,  is  told  tales  of  war  and  daring 
exploits,  and  "when  he  is  fifteen  or  sixteen  joins  the  first  war- 
party  and  comes  back  with  an  eagle  feather  in  his  head,  if  he  is 
not  killed  and  scalped  by  the  enemy."  Among  the  amusements 
he  indulges  in  are  foot-races,  horse-racing,  ball-playing,  etc.  An- 
other branch  of  his  education  is  thus  described:  "In  the  long 
winter  evenings,  while  the  fire  burns  brightly  in  the  centre  of 
the  lodge,  and  the  men  are  gathered  in  to  smoke,  he  hears  the 
folk-lore  and  legends  of  his  people  from  the  lips  of  the  older 
men.  He  learns  to  sing  the  love-songs  and  the  war-songs  of  the 
generations  gone  by.  There  is  no  new  path  for  him  to  tread,  but 
he  follows  in  the  old  ways.  He  becomes  a  Dakota  of  the  Dakota. 
His  armour  is  consecrated  by  sacrifices  and  offerings  and  vows. 
He  sacrifices  and  prays  to  the  stone  god,  and  learns  to  hold  up 
the  pipe  to  the  so-called  Great  Spirit.     He  is  killed  and  made 

Primitive  Pedagogy.  199 

alive  again,  and  thus  is  initiated  into  the  mysteries  and  promises 
of  the  Mystery  Dance.  He  becomes  a  successful  himter  and 
warrior,  and  what  he  does  not  know  is  not  worth  knowing  for 
a  Dakota.  His  education  is  finished.  If  he  has  not  already 
done  it,  he  can  now  demand  the  hand  of  one  of  the  beautiful 
maidens  of  the  village "  (524.  209,  210). 

Under  the  care  and  oversight  of  the  mother  and  grandmother 
the  girl  is  taught  the  elements  of  household  economy,  industrial 
art,  and  agriculture.  Mr.  Eiggs  thus  outlines  the  early  educa- 
tion of  woman  among  these  Indians :  "  She  plays  with  her  '  made 
child,'  or  doll,  just  as  children  iu  other  lands  do.  Very  soon  she 
learns  to  take  care  of  the  baby ;  to  watch  over  it  in  the  lodge,  or 
carry  it  on  her  back  whUe  the  mother  is  away  for  wood  or  dress- 
ing buffalo-robes.  Little  girl  as  she  is,  she  is  sent  to  the  brook 
or  lake  for  water.  She  has  her  little  work-bag  with  awl  and 
sinew,  and  learns  to  make  small  moccasins  as  her  mother  makes 
large  ones.  Sometimes  she  goes  with  her  mother  to  the  wood 
and  brings  home  her  little  bundle  of  sticks.  When  the  camp 
moves,  she  has  her  small  pack  as  her  mother  carries  the  large 
one,  and  this  pack  is  sure  to  grow  larger  as  her  years  increase. 
When  the  com  is  planting,  the  little  girl  has  her  part  to  perform. 
If  she  cannot  use  the  hoe  yet,  she  can  at  least  gather  off  the  old 
corn-stalks.  Then  the  garden  is  to  be  watched  while  the  god- 
given  maize  is  growing.  And  when  the  harvesting  comes,  the 
little  girl  is  glad  for  the  corn-roasting."  And  so  her  young  life 
runs  on.  She  learns  bead-work  and  ornamenting  with  porcupine 
quills,  embroidering  with  ribbons,  painting,  and  all  the  arts  of 
personal  adornment,  which  serve  as  attractions  to  the  other  sex. 
When  she  marries,  her  lot  and  her  life  (Mr.  Eiggs  says)  are 
hard,  for  woman  is  much  less  than  man  with  these  Dakotas  (524. 

More  details  of  girl-life  among  savage  and  primitive  peoples 
are  to  be  found  in  the  pages  of  Professor  Mason  (113.  207-211). 
In  America,  the  education  varied  from  what  the  little  girl  could 
pick  up  at  her  mother's  side  between  her  third  and  thirteenth 
years,  to  the  more  elaborate  system  of  instruction  in  ancient 
Mexico,  where,  "  annexed  to  the  temples  were  large  buildings 
used  as  seminaries  for  girls,  a  sort  of  aboriginal  Wellesley  or 
Vassar  ■'  (113  208). 

200  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

Games  and  Plays. 

In  the  multifarious  games  of  children,  echoes,  imitations,  re- 
renderings  of  the  sober  life  of  their  elders  and  of  their  ancestors 
of  the  long  ago,  recur  again  and  again.  The  numerous  love  games, 
which  Mr.  Newell  (313.  39-62)  and  Miss  Gomme  (243)  enumerate, 
such  as  "  Knights  of  Spain,"  "  Three  kings,"  "  Here  comes  a  Duke 
a-roving,"  ''Tread,  tread  the  Green  Grass,"  "I'll  give  to  you  a 
Paper  of  Pins,"  "  There  she  stands  a  lovely  Creature,"  "  Green 
Grow  the  Rushes,  0 ! "  "  The  Widow  with  Daughters  to  marry," 
"Philander's  March,"  "Marriage,"  etc.,  corresponding  to  many 
others  all  over  the  globe,  evidence  the  social  instincts  of  child- 
hood as  well  as  the  imitative  tendencies  of  youth. 

Under  "Playing  at  Work"  (313.  80-92),  Mr.  Newell  has  classed 
a  large  number  of  children's  games  and  songs,  some  of  which  now 
find  their  representatives  in  the  kindergarten,  this  education  of 
the  child  by  itself  having  been  so  modified  as  to  form  part  of  the 
infantile  curriculum  of  study.  Among  such  games  are :  "  Thread- 
ing the  Needle,"  "  Draw  a  Bucket  of  Water,"  "  Here  I  Brew  and 
here  I  Bake,"  "  Here  we  come  gathering  Nuts  of  May,"  "  When  I 
was  a  Shoemaker,"  "  Do,  do,  pity  my  Case,"  "  As  we  go  round  the 
Mulberry  Bush,"  "  Who'll  be  the  Binder  ?  "  "  Oats,  Pease,  Beans, 
and  Barley  grows."  Mr.  Newell  includes  in  this  category,  also, 
that  well-known  dance,  the  "  Virginia  Reel,"  which  he  interprets  as 
an  imitation  of  weaving,  something  akin  to  the  "  Hemp-dressers' 
Dance,"  of  the  time  of  George  III.,  in  England. 

In  a  recent  interesting  and  valuable  essay,  "  Education  by  Plays 
and  Games,"  by  Mr.  G.  E.  Johnson,  of  Clark  University,  —  an 
eifort  "to  present  somewhat  more  correctly  than  has  been  done 
before,  the  educational  value  of  play,  and  to  suggest  some  practi- 
cal applications  to  the  work  of  education  in  the  grades  above  the 
kindergarten,"  —  we  have  presented  to  us  a  list  of  some  five  hun- 
dred games,  classified  according  to  their  value  for  advancing  men- 
tal or  physical  education,  for  cultivating  and  strengthening  the 
various  faculties  of  mind  and  body.  These  games  have  also  been 
arranged  by  Mr.  Johnson,  into  such  classes  and  divisions  as  might 
be  held  to  correspond  to  the  needs  and  necessities  of  the  pupils 
in  each  of  the  eight  grades  above  the  kindergarten.  Of  the  edu- 
cational value  of  play  and  of  "  playing  at  work,"  there  can  be  no 

Primitive  Pedagogy.  201 

doubt  in  the  mind  of  any  one  at  all  acquainted  with  the  history 
of  the  individual  and  the  history  of  the  race.  As  Mr.  Johnson 
justly  observes  (269. 100) :  "The  field  of  the  study  of  play  is  very 
wide ;  the  plays  are  well-nigh  infinite,  and  as  varied  as  life  itself. 
No  one  can  estimate  the  value  of  them.  Given  right  toys  and 
surroundings,  the  young  child  has  an  almost  perfect  school.  It 
is  marvellous  how  well  he  learns.  Preyer  does  not  overestimate 
the  facts  when  he  says  the  child  in  the  first  three  or  four  years 
of  his  life  learns  as  much  as  the  student  ia  his  entire  university 
course.  In  the  making  of  mud  pies  and  doll  dresses,  sand-pile 
farms  and  miniature  roads,  tiny  dams  and  water-wheels,  whittled- 
out  boats,  sleds,  dog-harnesses,  and  a  thousand  and  one  other 
things,  the  child  receives  an  accimiulation  of  facts,  a  skill  of 
hand,  a  trueness  of  eye,  a  power  of  attention  and  quickness 
of  perception;  and  in  flying  kites,  catching  trout,  in  pressing 
leaves  and  gathering  stones,  in  collecting  stamps,  and  eggs,  and 
butterflies,  a  culture  also,  seldom  appreciated  by  the  parent  or 

Upon  the  banner  of  the  youthful  hosts  might  well  be  inscribed 
in  hoc  ludo  vincemus.  Yet  there  is  danger  that  the  play -theory 
may  be  carried  to  excess.  Mr.  James  L.  Hughes,  discussing  "  The 
Educational  Value  of  Play  and  the  Recent  Play-Movement  in  Ger- 
many," remarks:  "The  Germans  had  the  philosophy  of  play,  the 
English  had  an  intuitive  love  of  play,  and  love  is  a  greater  impell- 
ing force  than  philosophy.  English  young  men  never  played 
in  order  to  expand  their  lungs,  to  increase  their  circulation,  to 
develop  their  muscles  in  power  and  agility,  to  improve  their  fig- 
ures, to  add  grace  to  their  bearing,  to  awaken  and  refine  their 
intellectual  powers,  or  to  make  them  manly,  courageous,  and 
chivalrous.  They  played  enthusiastically  for  the  mere  love  of 
play,  and  all  these,  and  other  advantages  resulted  from  their 
play-'"  (265.328). 

Swimming  is  an  art  soon  learned  by  the  children  of  some  primi- 
tive races.  Mr.  Man  says  of  the  Andaman  Islanders:  "With 
the  exception  of  some  of  the  erem-tdga-  (inlanders),  a  knowledge 
of  the  art  of  swimming  is  common  to  members  of  both  sexes; 
the  children  even,  learning  almost  as  soon  as  they  can  run,  speedily 
acquire  great  proficiency "  (498.  47). 

202  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 


With  some  primitive  peoples  the  ideas  as  to  language-study 
are  pretty  much  on  a  par  with  those  prevalent  in  Europe  at  a 
date  not  so  very  remote  from  the  present.  Of  the  Kato  Pomo 
Indians  of  California,  Mr.  Powers  remarks:  "Like  the  Kai 
Pomo,  their  northern  neighbours,  they  forbid  their  squaws  from 
studying  languages  —  which  is  about  the  only  accomplishment 
possible  to  them  save  dancing  —  principally,  it  is  believed,  in 
order  to  prevent  them  from  gadding  about  and  forming  acquaint- 
ances in  neighbouring  valleys,  for  there  is  small  virtue  among 
the  unmarried  of  either  sex.  But  the  men  pay  considerable 
attention  to  linguistic  studies,  and  there  is  seldom  one  who  can- 
not speak  most  of  the  Pomo  dialects  within  a  day's  journey  of 
his  ancestral  valley.  The  chiefs,  especially,  devote  no  little  care 
to  the  training  of  their  sons  as  polyglot  diplomatists ;  and  Eobert 
"White  affirms  that  they  frequently  send  them  to  reside  several 
months  with  the  chiefs  of  contiguous  valleys  to  acquire  the  dialects 
there  in  vogue  "  (519.  150). 

Nevertheless,  as  Professor  Mason  observes,  among  primitive 
races,  woman's  share  in  the  "invention,  dissemination,  conserva- 
tion, and  metamorphosis  of  language  "  has  been  very  great,  and 
she  has  been  par  excellence  the  teacher  of  language,  as  indeed  she 
is  to-day  in  our  schools  when  expression  and  savoir  faire  in 
speech,  rather  than  deep  philological  learning  and  dry  gram- 
matical analysis,  have  been  the  object  of  instruction. 


Much  has  been  said  and  written  about  the  wonderful  knowledge 
of  geography  and  topography  possessed  by  the  Indian  of  America, 
and  by  other  primitive  peoples  as  well.  The  following  passage 
from  Mr.  Powers'  account  of  the  natives  of  California  serves  to 
explain  some  of  this  (519.  109) :  — 

"Besides  the  coyote-stories  with  which  gifted  squaws  amuse 
their  children,  and  which  are  common  throughout  this  region, 
there  prevails  among  the  Mattoal  a  custom  which  might  almost 
be  dignified  with  the  name  of  geographical  study.  In  the  first 
place,  it  is  necessary  to  premise  that  the  boundaries  of  all  the 

Primitive  Pedagogy.  203 

tribes  on  Humboldt  Bay,  Eel  River,  Van  Dusen's  Fork,  and  in 

fact  everywhere,  are  marked  "with  the  greatest  precision,  being 
defined  by  certain  creeks,  canons,  bowlders,  conspicuous  trees, 
springs,  etc.,  each  one  of  which  objects  has  its  own  individual 
name.  It  is  perilous  for  an  Indian  to  be  found  outside  of  his 
tribal  boundaries,  wherefore  it  stands  him  well  in  hand  to  make 
himself  acquainted  with  the  same  early  in  life.  Accordingly,  the 
squaws  teach  these  things  to  their  children  in  a  kind  of  sing-song 
not  greatly  unlike  that  which  was  the  national  furore  some  time 
ago  in  rural  singing-schools,  wherein  they  melodiously  chanted 
such  pleasing  items  of  information  as  tliis :  '  California,  Sacra- 
mento, on  the  Sacramento  Eiver.'  Over  and  over,  time  and 
again,  they  rehearse  all  these  bowlders,  etc.,  describing  each 
minutely  and  by  name,  with  its  surroundings.  Then  when  the 
children  are  old  enough,  they  take  them  aroimd  to  beat  the 
bounds  like  Bumble  the  Beadle ;  and  so  wonderful  is  the  Indian 
memory  naturally,  and  so  faithful  has  been  their  instruction,  that 
the  little  shavers  generally  recognize  the  objects  from  the  de- 
scriptions of  them  previously  given  by  their  mothers.  If  an 
Indian  knows  but  little  of  this  great  Avorld  more  than  pertains  to 
boundary  bush  and  bowlder,  he  knows  his  own  small  fighting- 
ground  infinitely  better  than  any  topographical  engineer  can 
learn  it." 

Mr.  Powers'  reference  to  "  beating  the  bounds  like  Bumble  the 
Beadle  "  is  an  apt  one.  Mr.  Frederick  Sessions  has  selected  as  one 
of  his  Folk-Lore  Topics  the  subject  of  '•'  Beating  the  Bounds  "  (352), 
and  in  his  little  pamphlet  gives  us  much  interesting  information 
concerning  the  part  played  by  children  in  these  performances. 
The  author  tells  us :  '•  One  of  the  earliest  of  my  childish  pleasures 
was  seeing  the  ^Mayor  and  Corporation,  preceded  by  Sword- 
bearer,  Beadles,  and  Blue  Coat  School  boys,  going  in  procession 
from  one  city  boundary-stone  to  another,  across  the  meadows  and 
the  river,  or  over  hedges  and  gardens,  or  anything  else  to  which 
the  perambulated  border-line  took  them.  They  were  followed 
along  the  route  by  throngs  of  holiday  makers.  Many  of  the 
crowd,  and  all  the  Blue  boys,  were  provided  with  willow-wands, 
peeled,  if  I  remember  rightly,  with  which  each  boundary  mark 
was  well  flogged.  The  youngest  boys  were  bumped  against  the 
'  city  stones.' "     In  the  little  town  of  Charlbury  in  Oxfordshire, 

204  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

"the  perambulations  seem  to  have  been  performed  mostly  by 
boys,  accompanied  by  one  or  more  of  their  seniors."  At  Hough- 
ton, a  village  near  St.  Ives  in  Huntingdonshire:  "The  bounds 
are  still  beaten  triennially.  They  are  here  marked  by  holes  in 
some  places,  and  by  stones  or  trees  in  others.  The  procession 
starts  at  one  of  the  holes.  Each  new  villager  present  is  instructed 
in  the  position  of  this  corner  of  the  boundary  by  having  his  head 
forcibly  thrust  into  the  hole,  while  he  has  to  repeat  a  sort  of 
mumbo-jumbo  prayer,  and  receives  three  whacks  with  a  shovel. 
He  pays  a  shilling  for  his  '  footing '  (boys  only  pay  sixpence),  and 
then  the  forty  or  fifty  villagers  march  off  to  the  opposite  corner 
and  repeat  the  process,  except  the  monetary  part,  and  regale 
themselves  with  bread  and  cheese  and  beer,  paid  for  by  the 
farmers  who  now  occupy  any  portion  of  the  old  common  lands." 

In  Eussia,  before  the  modern  system  of  land-registration  came 
into  vogue,  "  all  the  boys  of  adjoining  Cossack  village  communes 
were  'collected  and  driven  like  flocks  of  sheep  to  the  frontier, 
whipped  at  each  boundary-stone,  and  if,  in  after  years  two  whipped 
lads,  grown  into  men,  disputed  as  to  the  precise  spot  at  which 
they  had  been  castigated,  then  the  oldest  inhabitant  carrying  a 
sacred  picture  from  the  church,  led  the  perambulations,  and  acted 
as  arbitrator." 

Here  also  ought  to  be  mentioned  perhaps,  as  somewhat  akin 
and  reminiscent  of  like  practices  among  primitive  peoples,  "  the 
blason  populaire  (as  it  is  neatly  called  in  French),  in  which  the 
inhabitants  of  each  district  or  city  are  nicely  ticketed  off  and 
distinguished  by  means  of  certain  abnormalities  of  feature  or 
form,  or  certain  mental  peculiarities  attributed  to  them  "  (204. 19). 
In  parts  of  Hungary  and  Transylvania  a  somewhat  similar  prac- 
tice is  in  vogue  (392  (1892).  128). 


Some  Indian  children  have  almost  the  advantages  of  the 
modern  home  in  the  way  of  story-telling.  Clark  informs  us 
(420.  109) :  — 

"  Some  tribes  have  regular  story-tellers,  men  who  have  devoted 
a  great  deal  of  time  to  learning  the  myths  and  stories  of  their 
people,  and  who  possess,  in  addition  to  a  good  memory,  a  vivid 

Primitive  Pedagogy.  205 

imaginatioii.  The  mother  sends  for  one  of  these,  and,  having  pre- 
pared a  feast  for  him,  she  and  her  little  *  brood,'  who  are  curled  up 
near  her,  await  the  fairy  stories  of  the  dreamer,  who,  after  his 
feast  and  smoke,  entertains  them  for  hours.  IVIany  of  these 
fanciful  sketches  or  visions  are  interesting  and  beautiful  in  their 
rich  imagery,  and  have  been  at  times  given  erroneous  positions  in 
ethnological  data." 

Knortz  refers  in  glowing  terms  to  the  adisoke-icinini,  or  "  story- 
teller" of  the  Chippeway  Indians,  those  gifted  men,  who  enter- 
tain their  fellows  with  the  tales  and  legends  of  the  race,  and 
who  are  not  mere  reciters,  but  often  poets  and  transformers  as 
weU  (Skizzen,  294). 

So,  too,  among  the  Andaman  Islanders,  "  certain  mythic 
legends  are  related  to  the  young  by  dkopaiads  [shamans], 
parents,  and  others,  which  refer  to  the  supposed  adventures  or 
history  of  remote  ancestors,  and  though  the  recital  not  unfre- 
quently  evokes  much  mirth,  they  are  none  the  less  accepted  as 
veracious  "  (498.  95). 


Among  some  of  the  native  tribes  of  California  we  meet  with 
i-wa-musp,  or  "men-women"  (519.  132).  Among  the  Yuki,  for 
example,  there  were  men  who  dressed  and  acted  like  women, 
and  ''devoted  themselves  to  the  instruction  of  the  young  by 
the  narration  of  legends  and  moral  tales."  Some  of  these,  Mr. 
Powers  informs  us,  "have  been  known  to  shut  themselves  up 
in  the  assembly-hall  for  the  space  of  a  month,  with  brief  inter- 
missions, living  the  life  of  a  hermit,  and  spending  the  whole  time 
in  rehearsing  the  tribal-history  in  a  sing-song  monotone  to  all  who 
chose  to  listen." 

Somewhat  similar,  without  the  hermit-life,  appear  to  be  the 
functions  of  the  orators  and  "  prophets "  of  the  Miwok  and  the 
peace-chiefs,  or  "  shell-men,"  of  the  Porno  (519.  157,  352). 

Of  the  Indians  of  the  Pueblo  of  Tehua,  Mr.  Lummis,  in  his 
entertaining  volume  of  fairy-tales,  says :  "  There  is  no  duty  to 
which  a  Pueblo  child  is  trained  in  which  he  has  to  be  content 
with  the  bare  command,  '  Do  thus ' ;  for  each  he  learns  a  fairy- 
tale designed  to  explain  how  people  first  came  to  know  that  it 
was  right  to  do  thus,  and  detailing  the  sad  results  which  befell 

206  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

those  who  did  otherwise."  The  old  men  appear  to  be  the  story- 
tellers, and  their  tales  are  told  in  a  sort  of  blank  verse  (302.  5). 

Mr.  Grinnell,  in  his  excellent  book  about  the  Blackf eet,  —  one 
of  the  best  books  ever  written  about  the  Indians,  —  gives  some 
interesting  details  of  child-life.  Children  are  never  whipped, 
and  "are  instructed  in  manners  as  well  as  in  other  more  gen- 
eral and  more  important  matters."  Among  other  methods  of 
instruction  we  find  that  "men  would  make  long  speeches  to 
groups  of  boys  playing  in  the  camps,  telling  them  what  they 
ought  to  do  to  be  successful  in  life,"  etc.  (464.  188-191). 

Of  the  Delaware  Indians  we  are  told  that  "when  a  mere  boy 
the  Indian  lad  would  be  permitted  to  sit  in  the  village  council- 
house,  and  hear  the  assembled  wisdom  of  the  village  or  his  tribe 
discuss  the  affairs  of  state  and  expound  the  meaning  of  the  keekg' 
(beads  composing  the  wampum  belts).  ...  In  this  way  he  early 
acquired  maturity  of  thought,  and  was  taught  the  traditions  of  his 
people,  and  the  course  of  conduct  calculated  to  win  him  the  praise 
of  his  fellows  "  (516.  43).  This  reminds  us  of  the  Eoman  senator 
who  had  his  child  set  upon  his  knee  during  the  session  of  that 
great  legislative  and  deliberative  body. 

Playthings  and  Dolls. 

As  Professor  Mason  has  pointed  out,  the'  cradle  is  often  the 
"play-house"  of  the  child,  and  is  decked  out  to  that  end  in  a 
hundred  ways  (306.  162).     Of  the  Sioux  cradle,  Catlin  says :  — 

"  A  broad  hoop  of  elastic  wood  passes  around  in  front  of  the 
child's  face  to  protect  it  in  case  of  a  fall,  from  the  front  of  which 
is  suspended  a  little  toy  of  exquisite  embroidery  for  the  child  to 
handle  and  amuse  itself  with.  To  this  and  other  little  trinkets 
hanging  in  front  of  it,  there  are  attached  many  little  tinselled  and 
tinkling  things  of  the  brightest  colours  to  amuse  both  the  eyes 
and  the  ears  of  the  child.  While  travelling  on  horseback,  the 
arms  of  the  child  are  fastened  under  the  bandages,  so  as  not 
to  be  endangered  if  the  cradle  falls,  and  when  at  rest  they  are 
generally  taken  out,  allowing  the  infant  to  reach  and  amuse  itself 
with  the  little  toys  and  trinkets  that  are  placed  before  it  and 
A^athin  its  reach"  (306.  202).  In  like  manner  are  "playthings 
of  various  kinds "  hung  to  the  awning  of  the  birch-bark  cradles 

Primitive  Pedagogy.  207 

found  in  the  Yukon  region  of  Alaska.  Of  tlie  Nez  Perce,  we 
read :  "  To  the  hood  are  attached  medicine-bags,  bits  of  shell, 
haliotis  perhaps,  and  the  whole  artistic  genius  of  the  mother  is 
in  play  to  adorn  her  offspring."  The  old  chronicler  Lafitean 
observed  of  the  Indians  of  New  France:  "They  put  over  that 
half-circle  [at  the  top  of  the  cradle]  little  bracelets  of  porcelain 
and  other  little  trifles  that  the  Latins  call  crepundia,  which  serve 
as  an  ornament  and  as  playthings  to  divert  the  child"  (306.  167, 
187,  207). 

And  so  is  it  elsewhere  in  the  world.  Some  of  the  beginnings 
of  art  in  the  race  are  due  to  the  mother's  instinctive  attempts  to 
please  the  eyes  and  busy  the  hands  of  her  tender  offspring.  The 
children  of  primitive  peoples  have  their  dolls  and  playthings  as 
do  those  of  higher  races.  In  an  article  descriptive  of  the  games 
and  amusements  of  the  Ute  Indians,  we  read :  "  The  boy  remains 
under  maternal  care  until  he  is  old  enough  to  learn  to  shoot  and 
engage  in  manly  sports  and  enjoyments.  Indian  children  play, 
laugh,  cry,  and  act  like  white  children,  and  make  their  own  play- 
things from  which  they  derive  as  much  enjoyment  as  white 
children"  (480.  IV.  238). 

Of  the  Seminole  Indians  of  Florida,  ^Ir.  MacCauley  says  that 
among  the  children's  games  are  skipping  and  dancing,  leap-frog, 
teetotums,  building  a  merry-go-round,  carrying  a  small  make- 
believe  rifle  of  stick,  etc.  They  also  "  sit  around  a  small  piece  of 
land,  and,  sticking  blades  of  grass  into  the  ground,  name  it  a 
'corn-field,'"  and  "the  boys  kill  small  birds  in  the  bush  with 
their  bows  and  arrows,  and  call  it '  turkey-hunting.' "  [Moreover, 
they  "  have  also  dolls  (bundles  of  rags,  sticks  with  bits  of  cloth 
wrapped  around  them,  etc.),  and  build  houses  for  them  which 
they  call  '  camps ' "  (496.  506). 

Of  the  Indians  of  the  western  plains,  Colonel  Dodge  says: 
"The  little  girls  are  very  fond  of  dolls,  which  their  mothers 
make  and  dress  with  considerable  skill  and  taste.  Their  baby 
houses  are  miniature  teepees,  and  they  spend  as  much  time  and 
take  as  much  pleasure  in  such  play  as  white  girls"  (432.  190). 

Dr.  Boas  tells  us  concerning  the  Eskimo  of  Baffin  Land: 
"  Yoimg  children  are  always  carried  in  their  mothers'  hoods,  but 
when  about  a  year  and  a  half  old  they  are  allowed  to  play  on  the 
bed,  and  are  only  carried  by  their  mothers  when  they  get  too  mis- 

208  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

chievous."  The  same  authority  also  says  :  "  Young  children  play 
with  toys,  sledges,  kayaks,  boats,  bow  and  arrows,  and  dolls. 
The  last  are  made  in  the  same  way  by  all  the  tribes,  a  wooden 
body  being  clothed  with  scraps  of  deerskin  cut  in  the  same  way 
as  the  clothing  of  the  men"  (402.  568,  571).  Mr.  Murdoch  has 
described  at  some  length  the  dolls  and  toys  of  the  Point  Barrow 
Eskimo.  He  remarks  that  "though  several  dolls  and  various 
suits  of  miniature  clothing  were  made  and  brought  over  for  sale, 
they  do  not  appear  to  be  popular  with  the  little  girls."  He  did 
not  see  a  single  girl  playing  with  a  doll,  and  thinks  the  articles 
collected  may  have  been  made  rather  for  sale  than  otherwise. 
Of  the  boys,  Mr.  Murdoch  says :  "  As  soon  as  a  boy  is  able  to 
walk,  his  father  makes  him  a  little  bow  suited  to  his  strength, 
with  blunt  arrows,  with  which  he  plays  with  the  other  boys, 
shooting  at  marks  —  for  instance  the  fetal  reindeer  brought  home 
from  the  spring  hunt  —  till  he  is  old  enough  to  shoot  small  birds 
and  lemmings  "  (514.  380,  383). 

In  a  recent  extensive  and  elaborately  illustrated  article,  Dr. 
J.  W.  Fewkes  has  described  the  dolls  of  the  Tusayan  Indians 
(one  of  the  Pueblo  tribes).  Of  the  tihus,  or  carved  wooden  dolls, 
the  author  says  (226.  45) :  "  These  images  are  commonly  men 
tioned  by  American  visitors  to  the  Tusayan  Pueblos  as  idols,  but 
there  is  abundant  evidence  to  show  that  they  are  at  present  used 
simply  as  children's  playthings,  which  are  made  for  that  purpose 
and  given  to  the  girls  with  that  thought  in  mind."  Attention  is 
called  to  the  diSiculty  of  drawing  the  line  between  a  doll  and  an 
idol  among  primitive  peoples,  the  connection  of  dolls  with  relig- 
ion, psychological  evidence  of  which  lingers  with  us  to-day  in  the 
persistent  folk-etymology  which  connects  doll  with  idol.  The  fol- 
lowing remarks  of  Dr.  Fewkes  are  significant :  "  These  figurines 
[generally  images  of  deities  or  mythological  personages  carved 
in  true  archaic  fashion]  are  generally  made  by  participants  in 
the  Ni-mdn-kortd-na,  and  are  presented  to  the  children  in  July 
or  August  at  the  time  of  the  celebration  of  the  farewell  of  the 
Kortci'-nas  [supernatural  intercessors  between  men  and  gods]. 
It  is  not  rare  to  see  the  little  girls  after  the  presentation  carrying 
the  dolls  about  on  their  backs  wrapped  in  their  blankets  in  the 
same  manner  in  which  babies  are  carried  by  their  mothers  or 
sisters.     Those  dolls  which  are  more  elaborately  made  are  gen- 

Primitive  Pedagogy.  209 

erally  hung  up  as  ornaments  in  the  rooms,  but  never,  so  far  as  I 
have  investigated  the  subject,  are  they  worshipped.  The  readi- 
ness with  which  they  are  sold  for  a  proper  remuneration  shows 
that  they  are  not  regarded  as  objects  of  reverence.*'  But,  as 
Dr.  Fewkes  himself  adds,  "It  by  no  means  follows  that  they 
may  not  be  copies  of  images  which  have  been  worshipped, 
although  they  now  have  come  to  have  a  strictly  secular  use." 
Among  some  peoples,  perhaps,  the  dolls,  images  of  deities  of  the 
past,  or  even  of  the  present,  may  have  been  used  to  impart  the 
fundamentals  of  theology  and  miracle-story,  and  the  play-house 
of  the  children  may  have  been  at  times  a  sort  of  religious  kinder- 
garten of  a  primitive  tj*pe.  Worthy  of  note  in  this  connection  is 
the  statement  of  Castren  that  '•'  the  Finns  manufacture  a  kind  of 
dolls,  or  paras,  out  of  a  child's  cap  filled  with  tow  and  stuck  at 
the  end  of  a  rod.  The  fetich  thus  made  is  carried  nine  times 
round  the  church,  with  the  cry  'synny  para'  (Para  be  bom) 
repeated  every  time  to  induce  a  haVtia  —  that  is  to  say,  a  spirit  — 
to  enter  into  it "  (388.  108). 

A  glance  iuto  St.  Xicholas,  or  at  the  returns  to  the  syllabus  on 
dolls  sent  out  by  President  Hall,  is  sufficient  to  indicate  the  far- 
reaching  associations  of  the  subject,  while  the  doll-congress  of 
St.  Petersburg  has  had  its  imitatoi's  both  in  Europe  and  America. 
A  bibliography  of  doll-poems,  doll-descriptions,  doll-parties,  doll- 
funerals,  and  the  like  would  be  a  welcome  addition  to  the  liter- 
ature of  dolls,  while  a  doll-musevmi  of  extended  scope  would  be  at 
once  entertaining  and  of  great  scientific  value. 

The  familiar  phrase  "  to  cry  for  the  moon  "  corresponds  to  the 
French  "  prendre  la  lune  avec  ses  dents."  In  illustration  of  this 
proverbial  expression,  which  Rabelais  used  in  the  form  Je  ne  suis 
point  clerc  pour  prendre  la  hine  avec  les  dents,  Loubens  tells  the 
amusing  story  of  a  servant  who,  when  upbraided  by  the  parents 
for  not  giving  to  a  child  what  it  wanted  and  for  which  it  had 
been  long  crying,  answered :  "  You  must  give  it  him  yourself.  A 
quarter-of-an-hour  ago,  he  saw  the  moon  at  the  bottom  of  a  bucket 
of  water,  and  wants  me  to  give  it  him.  That's  all."  (Prov.  et 
locut.  fran^.,  p.  225.) 

To-day  children  cry  for  the  moon  in  vain,  but  'twas  not  ever 
thus.  In  payment  for  the  church,  which  King  Olaf  wanted  to 
have  built,  —  a  task  impossible,  the  saint  thought,  —  the  giant 

210  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

demanded  "  the  sun  and  moon,  or  St.  Olaf  himself."  Soon  the 
building  was  almost- completed,  and  St.  Olaf  was  in  great  per- 
plexity at  the  unexpected  progress  of  the  work.  As  he  was 
wandering  about  "  he  heard  a  child  cry  inside  a  mountain,  and  a 
giant-woman  hush  it  with  these  words :  '  Hush !  hush !  to-morrow 
comes  thy  father  Wind-and- Weather  home,  bringing  both  sun  and 
moon,  or  saintly  Olaf 's  self.' "  Had  not  the  king  overheard  this, 
and,  by  learning  the  giant's  name,  been  enabled  to  crush  him,  the 
child  could  have  had  his  playthings  the  next  day. 

In  the  course  of  an  incarnation-myth  of  the  raven  among  the 
Haida  Indians  of  the  Queen  Charlotte  Islands,  Mr.  Mackenzie 
tells  us  (497.  53):  — 

"In  time  the  woman  bore  a  son,  a  remarkably  small  child. 
This  child  incessantly  cried  for  the  moon  to  play  with,  thus  — 
Koong-ah-ah,  Koong-ah-ali  ('the  moon,  the  moon').  The  spirit- 
chief,  in  order  to  quiet  the  child,  after  carefully  closing  all  aper- 
tures of  the  house,  produced  the  moon,  and  gave  it  to  the  child  to 
play  with."  The  result  was  that  the  raven  (the  child)  ran  off 
with  the  moon,  and  the  people  in  consequence  were  put  to  no  little 
inconvenience.  But  by  and  by  the  raven  broke  the  original  moon 
in  two,  threw  half  up  into  the  sky,  which  became  the  sun,  while 
of  the  other  half  he  made  the  moon,  and  of  the  little  bits,  which 
were  left  in  the  breaking,  all  the  stars. 

In  the  golden  age  of  the  gods,  the  far-off  juventus  mundi,  the 
parts  of  the  universe  were  the  playthings,  the  Spielzeug  of  the 
divine  infants,  just  as  peasants  and  human  infants  figure  in 
the  folk-tales  as  the  toys  of  giants  and  Brobdingnagians.  Indeed, 
some  of  the  phenomena  of  nature  and  their  peculiarities  are  ex- 
plained by  barbarous  or  semi-barbarous  peoples  as  the  result  of 
the  games  and  sports  of  celestial  and  spiritual  children. 

With  barbarous  or  semi-civilized  peoples  possessing  flocks  and 
herds  of  domesticated  animals  the  child  is  early  made  acquainted 
with  their  habits  and  uses.  Eegarding  the  Kaffirs  of  South 
Africa  Theal  says  that  it  is  the  duty  of  the  young  boys  to  attend 
to  the  calves  in  the  kraal,  and  "  a  good  deal  of  time  is  passed  in 
training  them  to  run  and  to  obey  signals  made  by  whistling.  The 
boys  mount  them  when  they  are  eighteen  months  or  two  years 
old,  and  race  about  upon  their  backs  "  (543.  220).  In  many  parts 
of  the  world  the  child  has  played  an  important  rdle  as  shepherd 

Primitive  Pedagogy.  211 

and  watcher  of  flocks  and  herds,  and  the  shepherd-boy  has  often 
been  "called  to  high  places  in  the  state,  and  has  even  ascended 
the  thrones  of  great  cities  and  empires,  ecclesiastical  as  well  as 


In  his  little  book  on  the  philosophy  of  clothing  Dr.  Schurtz 
has  given  us  an  interesting  account  of  the  development  and  varia- 
tion of  external  ornamentation  and  dress  among  the  various  races, 
especially  the  negro  peoples  of  Africa.  The  author  points  out 
that  with  not  a  few  primitive  tribes  only  married  persons  wear 
clothes,  girls  and  boys,  yoimg  women  and  men  even,  going  about 
in  puris  naturalibus  (530.  13).  Everywhere  the  woman  is  better 
clothed  than  the  girl,  and  in  some  parts  of  Africa,  as  the  ring  is 
with  us,  so  are  clothes  a  symbol  of  marriage.  Among  the 
Balanta,  for  example,  in  Portuguese  Senegambia,  when  a  man 
marries  he  gives  his  wife  a  dress,  and  so  long  as  this  remains 
whole,  the  marriage-union  continues  in  force.  On  the  coast  of 
Sierra  Leone,  the  expression  "  he  gave  her  a  dress,"  intimates  that 
the  groom  has  married  a  young  girl  (530.  14,  43-49). 

Often,  ynth  many  races  the  access  of  puberty  leads  to  the  adop- 
tion of  clothing  and  to  a  refinement  of  dress  and  personal  adorn- 
ment. A  relic  of  this  remains,  as  Dr.  Schurtz  points  out,  in  the 
leaving  off  of  knickerbockers  and  the  adoption  of  "  long  dresses," 
by  the  young  people  in  our  civilized  communities  of  to-day 
(530.  13). 

With  others  the  clothing  of  the  young  is  of  the  most  primitive 
type,  and  children  in  very  many  cases  go  about  absolutely  naked. 

That  the  development  of  the  sex-feeling,  and  entrance  upon 
marriage,  have  with  very  many  peoples  been  the  chief  incite- 
ments to  dress  and  personal  ornamentation,  has  been  pointed  out 
by  Schurtz  and  others  (530.  14). 

Not  alone  this,  but,  sometimes,  as  among  the  Buru  Negroes  of 
the  upper  Blue  Nile  region,  the  advent  of  her  child  brings  with  it 
a  modification  in  the  dress  of  the  mother.  With  these  people, 
young  girls  wear  an  apron  in  front,  married  women  one  in  front 
and  one  behind,  but  women  who  have  already  had  a  child  wear 
two  in  front,  one  over  the  other.  A  similar  remark  applies  to 
tattooing  and  kindred  ornamentations  of  the  body  and  its  mem- 

212  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

bers.  Among  the  women  of  the  Bajansi  on  the  middle  Congo, 
for  example,  a  certain  form  of  tattoo  indicated  that  the  woman 
had  borne  a  child  (530.  78). 

Schurtz  points  out  that  the  kangaroo-skin  breast-covering  of 
the  Tasmanian  women,  the  shoulder  and  arm  strips  worn  by 
the  women  of  the  Monbuttu  in  Africa,  the  skin  mantles  of  the 
Marutse,  the  thick  hip-girdle  of  the  Tupende,  and  other  articles 
of  clothing  of  a  like  nature,  seem  to  be  really  survivals  of  devices 
for  carrying  children,  and  not  to  have  been  originally  intended  as 
dress  per  se  (530.  110,  111).  Thus  early  does  childhood  become  a 
social  factor. 

The  Chtld  as  Mkmber  ajst>  Builder  of  Society. 

In  great  states,  children  are  always  trying  to  remain  children,  and  the  parents 
wanting  to  make  men  and  women  of  them.  In  Tile  states,  the  children  are 
always  wanting  to  be  men  and  women,  and  the  parents  to  keep  them  children.  — 

Children  generally  hate  to  be  idle ;  all  the  care  is  then  that  their  busy  homoor 
shoold  be  constantly  employed  in  something  of  use  to  them.  —  Locke. 

Look  into  our  childish  faces; 

See  you  not  our  willing  hearts  ? 
Only  love  us  —  only  lead  us ; 
Only  let  us  know  you  need  us, 

And  we  all  will  do  our  parts.  —  Mary  HowUt. 

'UptpmwiK  0v(7ci  ^iMiv  roAiTucdv  [Man  is  by  nature  a  political  (social)  animal]. — 

Never  till  now  did  young  men,  and  almost  children,  take  such  a  command  in 
human  affairs.  —  Cariyle. 

Predestination  and  Caste. 

"  Who  can  tell  for  what  high  cause 
This  darling  of  the  Gods  was  bom  ?  " 

asks  the  poet  Marvell.  But  with  some  peoples  the  task  of  answer- 
ing the  question  is  an  easy  one ;  for  fat€,  or  its  human  side,  caste, 
has  settled  the  matter  long  before  the  infant  comes  into  the  world. 
The  Chinese  philosopher,  Han  Wan-Kung,  is  cited  by  Legge  as 
saying :  "  When  Shuh-yu  was  bom,  his  mother  knew,  as  soon  as 
she  looked  at  him,  that  he  would  fall  a  victim  to  his  love  of 
bribes.  "When  Yang  sze-go  was  bom,  the  mother  of  Shuh-he-ang 
knew,  as  soon  as  she  heard  him  cry,  that  he  would  cause  the 
destruction  of  all  his  kindred.  "When  Yueh-tseaou  was  born. 
TzewSn  considered  it  was  a  great  calamity,  knowing  that  through 


214  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

him  all  tlie  ghosts  of  the  Johgaou  family  would  be  famished" 
(487.  89). 

In  India,  we  meet  with  the  Bidhata-Purusha,  a  "deity  that 
predestines  all  the  events  of  the  life  of  man  or  woman,  and  writes 
on  the  forehead  of  the  child,  on  the  sixth  day  of  its  birth,  a  brief 
precis  of  them"  (426.  9).  India  is  par  excellence  the  land  of  caste, 
but  other  lands  know  the  system  that  makes  the  man  follow  in 
his  father's  footsteps,  and  often  ignores  the  woman  altogether, 
not  even  counting  her  in  the  census  of  the  people,  as  was  for- 
merly the  case  even  in  Japan  and  China,  where  a  girl  was  not 
worthy  to  be  counted  beside  the  son.  Of  ancient  Peru,  Letour- 
neau  says :  "  Every  male  inherited  his  father's  profession ;  he 
was  not  allowed  to  choose  another  employment.  By  right  of 
birth  a  man  was  either  labourer,  miner,  artisan,  or  soldier" 
(100.  486).  Predestination  of  state  and  condition  in  another 
world  is  a  common  theological  tenet,  predestination  of  state  and 
condition  in  this  world  is  a  common  social  theory. 

Vast  indeed  is  the  lore  of  birth-days,  months  and  years,  sea- 
sons and  skies  —  the  fiction-s,  myths,  and  beliefs  of  the  astrolo- 
gist,  the  spiritualist,  the  fortune-teller,  and  the  almanac-maker  — 
which  we  have  inherited  from  those  ancestors  of  ours,  who  be- 
lieved in  the  kinship  of  all  things,  who  thought  that  in  some  way 
"  beasts  and  birds,  trees  and  plants,  the  sea,  the  mountains,  the 
wind,  the  sun,  the  moon,  the  clouds,  and  the  stars,  day  and  night, 
the  heaven  and  the  earth,  were  alive  and  possessed  of  the  pas- 
sions and  the  will  they  felt  within  themselves  "  (258.  25).  Here 
belongs  a  large  amount  of  folk-lore  and  folk-speech  relating  to 
the  defective,  delinquent,  and  dependent  members  of  human 
society,  whose  misfortunes  or  misdeeds  are  assigned  to  atavistic 
causes,  to  demoniacal  influences. 


Among  primitive  peoples,  the  advent  of  a  child,  besides  entail- 
ing upon  one  or  both  of  the  parents  ceremonies  and  superstitious 
performances  whose  name  and  fashion  are  legion,  often  makes  a 
great  change  in  the  constitution  of  society.  Motherhood  and 
fatherhood  are,  in  more  than  one  part  of  the  globe,  primitive  titles 
of  nobility  and  badges  of  aristocracy.     With  the  birth  of  a  child, 

The  Child  as  Social  Factor.  216 

the  Chinese  woman  becomes  something  more  than  a  mere  slave 
and  plaything,  and  in  the  councils  of  uncivilized  peoples  (as  with 
us  to-day)  the  voice  of  the  father  of  a  family  carries  more  weight 
than  that  of  the  childless.  With  the  civilized  races  to-day,  more 
marriages  mean  fewer  prison-houses,  and  more  empty  jails,  than 
in  the  earlier  days,  and  with  the  primitive  peoples  of  the  present, 
this  social  bond  was  the  salvation  of  the  tribe  to  the  same  extent 
and  in  the  same  way. 

As  Westermarck  poiuts  out,  there  are  -''several  instances  of 
husband  and  wife  not  living  together  before  the  birth  of  a  child." 
Here  belong  the  temporary  marriages  of  the  Creek  Indians,  the 
East  Greenlanders,  the  Fuegians,  the  Essenes,  and  some  other 
Old  World  sects  and  peoples  —  the  birth  of  a  child  completes  the 
marriage  —  "  marriage  is  therefore  rooted  in  family,  rather  than 
family  in  marriage,"  in  such  cases.  With  the  Ainos  of  the  island 
of  Yezo,  the  Khyens  of  Farther  India,  and  with  one  of  the 
aboriginal  tribes  of  China,  so  Westermarck  informs  us,  *•  the  hus- 
band goes  to  live  with  his  wife  at  her  father's  house,  and  never 
takes  her  away  till  after  the  birth  of  a  child,"  and  ■with  more 
than  one  other  people  the  wife  remains  with  her  own  parents 
until  she  becomes  a  mother  (166.  22,  23). 

In  some  parts  of  the  United  States  we  find  similar  practices 
among  the  population  of  European  ancestry.  The  "boarding- 
out"  of  young  couples  until  a  child  is  bom  to  them  is  by  no 
means  uncommon. 


Adoption  is,  among  some  primitive  peoples,  remarkably  exten- 
sive. Among  the  natives  of  the  Andaman  Islands  "  it  is  said  to 
be  of  rare  occurrence  to  find  any  child  above  six  or  seven  years 
of  age  residing  with  its  parents,  and  this,  because  it  is  considered 
a  compliment  and  also  a  mark  of  friendship  for  a  married  man, 
after  paying  a  visit,  to  ask  his  hosts  to  allow  him  to  adopt  one 
of  their  children"  (498.  57). 

Of  the  Hawaiian  Islanders,  Letoumeau  remarks  (100.  389,  390) : 
"  Adoption  was  rendered  extremely  easy ;  a  man  would  give 
himself  a  father  or  sons  almost  ad  infinitum."  In  the  Marquesas 
Islands  "it  was  not  uncommon  to  see  elderly  persons  being 
adopted  by  children."     Moreover,  "animals  even  were  adopted. 

216  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

A  chief  adopted  a  dog,  to  whom  he  offered  ten  pigs  and  some 
precious  ornaments.  The  dog  was  carried  about  by  a  kikino,  and 
at  every  meal  he  had  his  stated  place  beside  his  adopted  father." 
Connected  with  adoption  are  many  curious  rites  and  ceremonies 
which  may  be  found  described  in  Ploss  and  other  authorities. 
Dr.  Friedrich  S.  Krauss  (280)  has  recently  treated  at  some  length 
of  a  special  form  of  adoption  symbolized  by  the  cutting  of  the 
hair,  and  particularly  known  among  the  southern  Slavonians. 
The  cutting  off  the  hair  here  represents,  the  author  thinks,  the 
unconditional  surrendering  of  one's  body  or  life  to  another.  The 
origin  of  the  sacrifice  of  the  hair  is  to  be  sought  in  the  fact  that 
primitive  peoples  have  believed  that  the  seat  of  the  soul  was  in 
the  hair  and  the  blood,  which  were  offered  to  the  spirits  or 
demons  in  lieu  of  the  whole  body.  The  relation  between  nurse 
and  child  has  been  treated  of  by  Ploss  and  Wiedmann  (167),  the 
latter  with  special  reference  to  ancient  Egypt  and  the  Mohcimme- 
dan  countries.  In  ancient  Egypt  the  nurse  was  reckoned  as  one 
of  the  family,  and  in  the  death-steles  and  reliefs  of  the  Middle 
Kingdom  her  name  and  figure  are  often  found  following  those 
of  the  children  and  parents  of  the  deceased.  The  wet-nurse  was 
held  in  especial  honour.  The  milk-relationship  sometimes  com- 
pletely takes  the  place  of  blood-relationship.  The  Koran  forbids 
the  marriage  of  a  nurse  and  a  man  whom,  as  a  child,  she  has 
suckled ;  the  laws  of  the  Hanaf i  forbid  a  man  to  marry  a  woman 
from  whose  breast  he  has  imbibed  even  a  single  drop  of  milk. 
Among  the  southern  Slavonians :  "  If  of  two  children  who  have 
fed  at  the  breast  of  the  same  woman,  one  is  a  boy  and  the  wo- 
man's own  child,  and  the  other  (adopted)  a  girl,  these  two  must 
never  marry."  If  they  are  both  girls,  they  are  like  real  sisters 
in  love  and  affection ;  if  both  boys,  like  real  brothers.  In  Dar- 
distan  and  Armenia  also,  milk-relationship  prevents  marriage 
(167.  263). 

In  Mingrelia  as  soon  as  a  child  is  given  to  a  woman  to  nurse, 
she,  her  husband,  children,  and  grandchildren  are  bound  to  it  by 
ties  more  dear  even  than  those  of  blood-relationship ;  she  would 
yield  up  her  life  for  the  child,  and  the  latter,  when  grown  up,  is 
reciprocally  dutiful.  It  is  a  curious  fact  that  even  grown-up 
people  can  contract  this  sort  of  relationship.  "Thus  peasant- 
women  are  very  anxious  to  have  grown-up  princesses   become 

The  Child  as  Social  Factor.  217 

then  foster-children  —  the  latter  simply  bite  gently  the  breasts 
of  th^ir  foster-mothers,  and  forthwith  a  close  relationship  sub- 
sists between  them."  It  is  said  also  that  girls  obtain  protectors 
in  like  manner  by  having  youths  bite  at  their  breasts,  which 
(lately)  they  cover  with  a  veil  (167.  263).  Adoption  by  the  let- 
ting or  transfusion  of  blood  is  also  found  in  various  parts  of  the 
world  and  has  far-reaching  ramifications,''as  Trumbull,  Robertson 
Smith,  and  Daniels  have  pointed  out.  The  last  calls  attention 
to  the  Biblical  declaration  (Proverbs,  xxviii.  24) :  "  There  is  a 
friend  which  sticketh  closer  than  a  brother,"  underlying  which 
seems  to  be  this  mystic  tie  of  blood  (214.  16). 

The  mourning  for  the  death  of  children  is  discussed  in  another 
part  of  this  work.  It  may  be  mentioned  here,  however,  that  the 
death  of  a  child  often  entails  other,  sometimes  more  serious,  con- 
sequences. Among  the  Dyaks  of  Borneo, "  when  a  father  has  lost 
his  child,  he  kills  the  first  man  he  meets  as  he  goes  out  of  his 
house  J  this  is  to  him  an  act  of  duty  "  (100.  238), 

Hereditary  Rights. 

The  hereditary  rights  of  children  to  share  in  the  property  of 
their  parents  have  been  made  the  subject  of  an  interesting  study 
by  Clement  Deneus  (215),  a  la^vyer  of  Ghent,  who  has  treated  in 
detail  of  the  limitation  of  the  patria  potestas  in  respect  to  dis- 
position of  the  patrimony,  and  the  reservation  to  the  children  of 
a  portion  of  the  property  of  their  parents  —  an  almost  inviolable 
right,  of  which  they  can  be  deprived  only  in  consequence  of  the 
gravest  offences.  This  reservation  the  author  considers  "  a  prin- 
ciple universally  recognized  among  civilized  nations,"  and  an 
institution  which  marks  a  progress  in  the  history  of  law  and  of 
civilization  "  (215.  49),  while  testamentary  freedom  is  unjust  and 
inexpedient.  The  author  discusses  the  subject  from  the  points 
of  view  of  history,  statute  and  natural  law,  social  economy,  etc., 
devotiug  special  attention  to  pointing  out  the  defects  of  the 
system  of  the  school  of  Le  Play,  —  primogeniture,  which  still 
obtains  in  England,  in  several  parts  of  Germany,  in  certain  locali- 
ties of  the  Pyrenees,  and  in  the  Basque  provinces. 

In  the  countries  of  modern  Europe,  the  testamentary  power  of 
the  father  is  limited  as  follows :  Austria  (Code  of  1812) :  One- 

218  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

half  of  parents'  property  reserved  for  children.  The  law  of  1889 
makes  exception  in  the  case  of  rural  patrimonies  of  moderate  size 
with  dwelling  attached,  where  the  father  has  the  right  to  desig- 
nate his  heir.  Denmark  (Code  of  1845) :  Father  can  dispose  of 
but  one-fourth  of  the  property;  nobles,  however,  are  allowed  to 
bestow  upon  one  of  their  children  the  half  of  their  fortune. 
Germany:  No  uniform  civil  legislation  exists  as  yet  for  the 
whole  empire.  In  the  majority  of  the  smaller  states,  in  a  part 
of  Bavaria,  Rugen,  eastern  Pomerania,  Schleswig-Holstein,  the 
Corpus  Juris  Civilis  of  Justinian  is  in  force,  while  the  Napoleonic 
code  obtains  in  Rhenish  Prussia,  Hesse,  and  Bavaria,  in  Baden, 
Berg,  Alsace-Lorraine.  In  Prussia,  the  reserve  is  one-third,  if 
there  are  less  than  three  children  ;  one-half,  if  there  are  three  or 
four.  In  Saxony,  if  there  are  five  or  more  children,  the  reserve 
is  one-half;  if  there  are  four  or  less,  one-third.  Greece:  The 
Justinian  novels  are  followed.  Holland:  The  Napoleonic  code 
is  in  force.  Italy  (Code  of  1866) :  The  reserve  is  one-half. 
Norway  (Code  of  1637,  modified  in  1800,  1811,  1825)  :  The  father 
is  allowed  free  disposal  of  one-half  of  the  patrimony,  but  for 
religious  charities  {fondations pieiises)  only.  Portugal:  The  legit- 
imate is  two-thirds.  Roumania  (Code  of  1865) :  The  same  pro- 
vision as  in  the  Napoleonic  code.  Russia  (Code  of  1835) :  The 
father  can  dispose  at  pleasure  of  the  personal  property  and  prop- 
erty acquired,  but  the  property  itself  must  be  divided  equally. 
In  Esthonia,  this  provision  also  applies  to  personal  property  ac- 
quired by  inheritance,  SjMin  (Code  of  1889) :  The  father  can 
dispose  of  one-third  of  the  patrimony  to  a  stranger ;  to  a  child  he 
can  will  two-thirds.  He  can  also,  in  the  case  of  farming,  indus- 
try, or  commerce,  leave  his  entire  property  to  one  of  his  children, 
except  that  the  legatee  has  to  pecuniarily  indemnify  his  brothers 
and  sisters.  Sweden  (Code  of  1734) :  In  the  towns,  the  father 
can  dispose  of  but  one-sixth  of  the  patrimony ;  in  the  country,  the 
patrimonial  property  must  go  to  the  children.  The  rest  is  at  the 
will  of  the  father,  except  that  he  must  provide  for  the  sustenance 
of  his  children.  Switzerland :  At  Geneva,  the  Napoleonic  code  is 
in  force;  in  the  Canton  of  Uri,  the  younger  son  is  sometimes 
specially  favoured ;  in  Zurich,  the  father  can  dispose  of  one-sixth 
in  favour  of  strangers,  or  one-fifth  in  favour  of  a  child ;  in  Bale, 
he  is  allowed  no  disposal ;  in  the  cantons  of  Neuch§,tel  and  Vaud, 

The  Child  a»  Social  Factor.  219 

the  reserve  is  one-half,  in  Bern  and  Schaffhausen,  two-thirds,  and 
in  Frihurg  and  Soleure,  three-fourths.  Turkey:  The  father  can 
dispose  of  two-thirds  by  will,  or  of  the  whole  by  gift  (215.  39^41). 

In  France,  article  913  of  the  civil  code  forbids  the  father  to 
dispose,  by  gift  while  living,  or  by  will,  of  more  than  one-half  of 
the  property,  if  he  leaves  at  his  death  but  one  legitimate  child ; 
more  than  one-third,  if  he  leaves  two  children;  more  than  one- 
fourth,  if  he  leave  three  or  more  children.  In  the  United  States 
great  testamentary  freedom  prevails,  and  the  laws  of  inheritance 
belong  to  the  province  of  the  various  States, 

Among  the  nations  of  antiquity,  —  Egyptians,  Persians,  Assyri- 
ans, Chinese,  —  according  to  Deneus  (215.  2),  the  patria  potestas 
probably  prevented  any  considerable  diffusion  of  the  family 
estates.  By  the  time  of  Moses,  the  Hebrews  had  come  to  favour 
the  first-bom,  and  to  him  was  given  a  double  share  of  the  inher- 
itance. With  the  ancient  Hindus  but  a  slight  favouring  of  the 
eldest  son  seems  to  have  been  in  vogue,  the  principle  of  co-pro- 
prietorship of  parent  and  children  being  recognized  in  the  laws 
of  ^lanu.  In  Sparta,  the  constitution  was  inimical  to  a  reserve 
for  all  the  children ;  in  Athens,  the  code  of  Solon  forbade  a  man 
to  benefit  a  stranger  at  the  expense  of  his  legitimate  male  chil- 
dren; he  had,  however,  the  right  to  make  particular  legacies, 
probably  up  to  one-half  of  the  property.  Deneus  considers  that 
the  j^enchant  of  the  Athenians  for  equality  was  not  favourable  to 
a  cast-iron  system  of  primogeniture,  although  the  father  may  have 
been  able  to  favour  his  oldest  child  to  the  extent  of  one-half  of  his 
possessions.  In  ancient  Kome  (215.  4-16),  at  first,  a  will  was  an 
exception,  made  valid  only  by  the  vot«  of  a  lex  curiata;  but  after- 
wards the  absolute  freedom  of  testamentary  disposition,  which 
was  approved  in  450  b.c.  by  the  Law  of  the  Twelve  Tables, — 
Uti  legassit  super  pecunia  tutelave  suce  rei,  ita  jus  esto,  —  appears, 
and  the  father  could  even  pass  by  his  children  in  silence  and  call 
upon  an  utter  stranger  to  enjoy  his  estate  and  possessions.  By 
153  B.C.,  however,  the  father  was  called  upon  to  nominally  dis- 
inherit his  children,  and  not  merely  pass  them  over  in  silence,  if 
he  wished  to  leave  his  property  to  a  stranger.  For  some  time 
this  provision  had  little  effect,  but  a  breach  in  the  patria  potestas 
has  reaUy  been  made,  and  by  the  time  of  Pliny  the  Younger 
(61-115   A.D.),  who  describes   the   procedm-e  in  detail,  the  dis- 

220  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

inherited  children  were  given  the  right  of  the  querula  inofficiosi 
testamenti,  by  which  the  father  was  presumed  to  have  died  intes- 
tate, and  his  property  fell  in  equal  shares  to  all  his  children. 
Thus  it  was  that  the  right  of  children  in  the  property  of  the 
father  was  first  really  recognized  at  Rome,  and  the  pars  legitima, 
the  reserve  of  which  made  it  impossible  for  the  children  to  attack 
the  will  of  the  father,  came  into  practice.  In  the  last  years  of  the 
Republic,  this  share  was  at  least  one-fourth  of  what  the  legit- 
imate heir  would  have  received  in  the  absence  of  a  will ;  under 
Justinian,  it  was  one-third  of  the  part  ab  intestate,  if  this  was  at 
least  one-fourth  of  the  estate;  otherwise,  one-half.  The  father 
always  retained  the  right  to  disinherit,  for  certain  reasons,  in 
law.  With  this  diminution  of  his  rights  over  property  went  also 
a  lessening  of  his  powers  over  the  bodies  of  his  children.  Diocle- 
tian forbade  the  selling  of  children,  Constantine  decreed  that  the 
father  who  exposed  his  new-born  child  should  lose  the  patria 
potestas,  and  Valentinian  punished  such  action  with  death. 
Among  the  ancient  Gauls,  in  spite  of  the  father's  power  of 
life  and  death  over  his  offspring,  he  could  not  disinherit  them, 
for  the  theory  of  co-proprietorship  obtained  with  these  western 
tribes  (215.  16).  With  the  ancient  Gef-mans,  the  father  appears 
to  have  been  rather  the  protector  of  his  children  than  their  owner 
or  keeper ;  the  child  is  recognized,  somewhat  rudely,  as  a  being 
with  some  rights  of  his  own.  Michelet  has  aptly  observed,  as 
Deneus  remarks,  that  "  the  Hindus  saw  in  the  son  the  reproduc- 
tion of  the  father's  soul ;  the  Romans,  a  servant  of  the  father ; 
the  Germans,  a  child"  (215.  17).  At  first  wills  were  unknown 
among  them,  for  the  system  of  co-proprietorship,  —  hceredes  suc- 
cessoresque  sui  cuique  liberi  et  milium  testamentum,  —  and  the 
solidarity  of  the  family  and  all  its  members,  did  not  feel  the 
need  of  any.  The  inroad  of  Roman  ideas,  and  especially,  Deneus 
thinks,  the  fervour  of  converts  to  Christianity,  introduced  testa- 
mentary legacies. 

The  Goths  and  Burgundians,  in  their  Roman  laws,  allowed  the 
parent  to  dispose  of  three-fourths,  the  Visigoths  one-third  or  one- 
fifth,  according  as  the  testator  disposed  of  his  property  in  favour 
of  a  child  or  a  stranger.  The  national  law  of  the  Burgundians 
allowed  to  the  father  the  absolute  disposal  of  his  acquisitions, 
but  prescribed  the  equal  sharing  of  the  property  among  all  the 

The  Child  a8  Social  Factor.  221 

children.  The  ripuarian  law  of  the  Franks  left  the  children  a 
reserve  of  twelve  sous,  practically  admitting  absolute  freedom  of 
disposition  by  will  (215.  18).  The  course  of  law  in  respect  to  the 
inheritance  of  children  during  the  Middle  Ages  can  be  read  in  the 
pages  of  Deneus  and  the  wider  comparative  aspect  of  the  subject 
studied  in  the  volumes  of  Post,  Dargun,  Engels,  etc.,  where  the 
various  effects  of  mother-right  and  father-right  are  discussed  and 

Subdivisions  of  Land. 

In  some  cases,  as  in  Wurtemburg,  Switzerland,  Hanover,  Thu- 
ringia,  Hesse,  certain  parts  of  Sweden,  France,  and  Eussia,  the 
subdivision  of  property  has  been  carried  out  to  an  extent  which 
has  produced  truly  Lilliputian  holdings.  In  Switzerland  there  is 
a  certain  commune  where  the  custom  obtains  of  transmitting  by 
will  to  each  child  its  proportional  share  of  each  parcel ;  so  that  a 
single  walnut-tree  has  no  fewer  than  sixty  proprietors.  This 
reminds  us  of  the  Maoris  of  New  Zealand,  with  whom  "  a  portion 
of  the  ground  is  allotted  to  the  use  of  each  family,  and  this  portion 
is  again  subdivided  into  individual  parts  on  the  birth  of  each 
child."  It  is  of  these  same  people  that  the  story  is  told  that, 
after  selling  certain  of  their  lands  to  the  English  authorities, 
they  came  back  in  less  than  a  year  and  demanded  payment  also 
for  the  shares  of  the  children  born  since  the  sale,  whose  rights 
they  declared  had  not  been  disposed  of.  On  the  islands  of  the 
Loire  there  are  holdings  "  so  small  that  it  is  impossible  to  reduce 
them  any  less,  so  their  owners  have  them  each  in  turn  a  year  " ; 
in  the  commune  of  Murs,  in  Anjou,  there  is  "  a  strip  of  nine  hec- 
tares, subdivided  into  no  fewer  than  thirty-one  separate  parcels." 
The  limit,  however,  seems  to  be  reached  in  Laon,  where  "it  is 
not  rare  to  find  fields  scarce  a  metre  (3  ft.  3.37  in.)  wide ;  here  an 
apple-tree  or  a  walnut-tree  covers  with  its  branches  four  or  five 
lots,  and  the  proprietor  can  only  take  in  his  crop  in  the  presence 
of  his  neighbours,  to  whom  he  has  also  to  leave  one-half  of  the 
fruit  fallen  on  their  lots."  No  wonder  many  disputes  and  law- 
suits arise  from  such  a  state  of  affairs.  It  puts  us  in  mind  at 
once  of  the  story  of  the  sand-pile  and  the  McDonogh  farm.  The 
exchange  or  purchase  of  contiguous  parcels  sometimes  brings 
temporary  or  permanent  relief  (215.  112,  113). 


The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

The  following  figures  show  the  extent  to  which  this  Lilliputian 
system  obtained  in  France  in  1884,  according  to  the  returns  of 
the  Minister  of  Finance  :  — 

Natuke  op  Propektt. 

Number  of 




Less  than  20  ares  (100  ares = one  hectare)  . 
Less  than  50  ares 


















2  31 

Less  than  1  hectare  (=2J  acres) 

Less  than  2  hectares 

10  53 

From  2  to  6  hectares 

15  26 

From  6  to  50  hectares 

38  94 

From  50  to  200  hectares 

19  04 

More  than  200  hectares 

16  23 






Deneus  gives  other  interesting  figures  from  Belgium  and  else- 
where, showing  the  extent  of  the  system.  Other  statistics  given 
indicate  that  this  parcelling-out  has  reached  its  lowest  point,  and 
that  the  reaction  has  set  in.  It  is  a  curious  fact,  noted  by 
M.  Deneus,  that  of  the  1,173,724  tenant-farmers  in  the  United 
Kingdom  of  Great  Britain  and  Ireland  in  the  year  1884,  no  fewer 
than  852,438  cultivated  an  acre  or  less. 

Younger  Son. 

Mr.  Sessions,  in  his  interesting  little  pamphlet  (351)  calls 
attention  to  the  important  rdle  assigned  in  legend  and  story  to 
the  "  younger  son,"  "  younger  brother,"  as  well  as  the  social  cus- 
toms and  laws  which  have  come  into  vogue  on  his  account.  Sir 
Henry  Maine  argued  that "  primogeniture  cannot  be  the  natural 
outgrowth  of  the  family,  but  is  a  political  institution,  coming 
not  from  clansmen  but  from  a  chief."  Hence  the  youngest 
son,  "who  continues  longest  Avith  the  father,  is  naturally  the 
heir  of  his  house,  the  rest  being  already  provided  for."  Mr.  Ses- 
sions observes  (351.  2) :  "  Among  some  primitive  tribes,  as  those 
of  Cape  York  [Australia]  and  the  adjacent  islands,  the  youngest 
son  inherited  a  double  portion  of  his  deceased  father's  goods. 

The  Child  as  Social  Factor.  223 

Among  the  Maoris  of  Xew  Zealand  he  takes  the  whole.  Among 
some  hill  tribes  of  India,  such  as  the  Todas  of  the  NeOgherries, 
he  takes  the  house  and  maintains  the  women  of  the  family, 
whilst  the  cattle,  which  represent  the  chief  personalities,  are 
equally  divided.  The  Mrus  and  Kolhs  and  Cotas  have  similar 
customs."  Somewhat  similar  to  the  code  of  the  Todas  was 
that  of  the  Hindu  Aryans,  as  embodied  in  the  laws  of  Manu,  for 
"the  youngest  son  has,  from  time  immemorial,  as  well  as  the 
eldest,  a  place  in  Hindu  legislation."  The  succession  of  the 
yoimgest  prevails  among  the  Mongolian  Tartars,  and  "  when  in 
Russia  the  joint  family  may  be  broken  up,  the  youngest  takes 
the  house."  The  right  of  the  youngest  was  known  among  the 
Welsh,  Irish,  and  some  other  Celtic  tribes ;  the  old  Welsh  law 
gave  the  yoimgest  son  the  house  and  eight  acres,  the  rest  of  the 
land  being  divided  equally  between  all  the  sons.  Mr.  Sessions 
calls  attention  to  the  fact  that,  while  in  Old  Testament  Palestine 
primogeniture  was  the  rule,  the  line  of  ancestry  of  Christ  exhibits 
some  remarkable  exceptions.  And  among  primitive  peoples  the 
hero  or  demi-god  is  very  often  the  younger  son. 

Under  the  name  of  "  Borough  English,"  the  law  by  which  the 
fathers  real  property  descends  to  the  youngest  son  alone,  sur- 
vives in  Gloucester  and  some  few  other  places  in  England, — 
Lambeth,  Hackney,  part  of  Islington,  Heston,  Edmonton,  etc. 

Another  interesting  tenure  is  that  of  gavelkind,  by  which  the 
land  and  property  of  the  father  was  inherited  in  equal  portions 
by  all  his  sons,  the  youngest  taking  the  house,  the  eldest  the 
horse  and  arms,  and  so  on.  This  mode  of  tenure,  before  the  Con- 
quest, was  quite  common  in  parts  of  England,  especially  Wales 
and  Northumberland,  still  surviving  especially  in  the  county  of 
Kent.  Many  things,  indeed,  testify  of  the  care  which  was  taken 
even  in  primitive  times  to  secure  that  the  youngest  born,  the 
child  of  old  age,  so  frequently  the  best-loved,  should  not  fare  ill 
in  the  struggle  for  life. 


One  important  function  of  the  child  (still  to  be  seen  commonly 
among  the  lower  classes  of  the  civilized  races  of  to-day)  with 
primitive  peoples  is  that  of  nurse  and  baby-carrier.  Even  of 
Japan,  ]^Irs.  Bramhall  gives  this  picture  (189.  33):  — 

224  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

"We  shall  see  hundreds  of  small  children,  not  more  than  five 
or  six  years  of  age,  carrying,  fast  asleep  on  their  shoulders,  the 
baby  of  the  household,  its  tiny  smooth  brown  head  swinging 
hither  and  thither  with  every  movement  of  its  small  nurse,  who 
walks,  runs,  sits,  or  jumps,  flies  kites,  plays  hop-scotch,  and  fishes 
for  frogs  in  the  gutter,  totally  oblivious  of  that  infantile  charge, 
whether  sleeping  or  waking.  If  no  young  sister  or  brother  be 
available,  the  husband,  the  uncle,  the  father,  or  grandfather  hitches 
on  his  back  the  baby,  preternaturally  good  and  contented." 

The  extent  to  which,  in  America,  as  well  as  in  Europe,  to-day, 
young  children  are  entrusted  with  the  care  of  infants  of  their 
family,  has  attracted  not  a  little  attention,  and  the  "  beyond  their 
years"  look  of  some  of  these  little  nurses  and  care-takers  is 
often  quite  noticeable.  The  advent  of  the  baby-carriage  has 
rather  facilitated  than  hindered  this  old-time  employment  of  the 
child  in  the  last  century  or  so.  In  a  recent  number  (vol.  xvii. 
p.  792)  of  Public  Opinion  we  find  the  statement  that  from  June  17, 
1890,  to  September  15,  1894,  the  "Little  Mothers'  Aid  Associa- 
tion," of  New  York,  has  been  the  means  of  giving  a  holiday,  one 
day  at  least  of  pleasure  in  the  year,  to  more  than  eight  thousand 
little  girls,  who  are  "  little  mothers,  in  the  sense  of  having  the 
care  of  younger  children  while  the  parents  are  at  work."  In 
thrifty  New  England,  children  perform  not  a  little  of  the  house- 
work, even  the  cooking ;  and  "  little  mothers  "  and  "  little  house- 
keepers "  were  sometimes  left  to  themselves  for  days,  while  their 
elders  in  days  gone  by  visited  or  went  to  the  nearest  town  or 
village  for  supplies. 


"Marriages  are  made  in  heaven,"  says  the  old  proverb,  and 
among  some  primitive  peoples  we  meet  with  numerous  instances  of 
their  having  been  agreed  upon  and  arranged  by  prospective  parents 
long  before  the  birth  of  their  offspring.  Indeed,  the  betrothal  of 
unborn  children  by  their  parents  occurs  sporadically  to-day  in  civ- 
ilized lands.  Ploss  has  called  attention  to  child-marriages  in  their 
sociological  and  physiological  bearings  (125. 1.  386-402),  and  Post 
has  considered  the  subject  in  his  historical  study  of  family  law. 
In  these  authorities  the  details  of  the  subject  may  be  read.  In 
Old  Calabar,  men  who  already  possess  several  wives  take  to  their 


The  Child  as  Social  Factor.  226 

bosom  ^d  kiss,  as  their  new  wife,  babes  two  or  three  weeks  old- 
In  China,  Gu jurat,  Ceylon,  and  parts  of  Brazil,  wives  of  from 
four  to  six  years  of  age  are  occasionally  met  with.  In  many 
parts  of  the  world  wives  of  seven  to  nine  years  of  age  are  com- 
mon, and  wives  of  from  ten  to  twelve  very  common.  In  China 
it  is  sometimes  the  case  that  parents  buy  for  their  infant  son  an 
infant  wife,  nursed  at  the  same  breast  with  him  (234.  xlii.). 

Wiedemann,  in  an  article  on  child-marriages  in  Egypt  (381), 
mentions  the  fact  that  a  certain  king  of  the  twenty-first  dynasty 
(about  1100  B.C.)  seems  to  have  had  as  one  of  his  wives  a  child 
only  a  few  days  old.  From  Dio  Cassius  we  learn  that  in  Eome, 
at  the  beginning  of  the  Empire,  marriages  of  children  under  ten 
years  occasionally  took  place. 

In  some  parts  of  the  world  the  child-wife  does  not  belong  to 
her  child-husband.  "  Among  the  Eeddies,  of  India,"  Letourneau 
informs  us,  "  a  girl  from  sixteen  to  twenty  years  of  age  is  married 
to  a  boy  of  five  or  six.  The  wife  then  becomes  the  real  wife  of 
the  boy's  uncle,  or  cousin,  or  of  the  father  of  the  reputed  husband. 
But  the  latter  is  considered  to  be  the  legal  father  of  the  children 
of  his  pretended  wife."  So  it  is  only  when  the  boy  has  grown  up 
that  he  receives  his  wife,  and  he,  in  turn,  acts  'as  his  relative 
before  him  (100.  354).  Temple  cites  the  following  curious  cus- 
tom in  his  tales  of  the  Panjab  (542.  I.  xviii.)  :  — 

"  Wlien  Raja  Yasali  has  won  a  bride  from  Raja  Sirkap,  he  is 
given  a  new-born  infant  and  a  mango-tree,  which  is  to  flower  in 
twelve  years,  and  when  it  flowers,  the  girl  is  to  be  his  wife."  The 
age  prescribed  by  ancient  Hindu  custom  (for  the  Brahman,  Tshe- 
tria,  and  Yysia  classes)  is  six  to  eight  years  for  the  girl,  and  the 
belief  prevailed  that  if  a  girl  were  to  attain  her  puberty  before 
being  married,  her  parents  and  brothers  go  to  hell,  as  it  was  their 
duty  to  have  got  her  married  before  that  period  (317.  56).  Father 
Sangermano,  writing  of  Burma  a  hundred  years  ago,  notices  the 
"  habit  of  the  Burmese  to  engage  their  daughters  while  young,  in 
real  or  fictitious  marriages,  in  order  to  save  them  from  the  hands 
of  the  king's  ministers,  custom  having  established  a  rule,  which 
is  rarely  if  ever  violated,  that  no  married  woman  can  be  seized, 
even  for  the  king  himself"  (234.  xlii.).  The  child-marriages  of 
India  have  been  a  fruitful  theme  for  discussion,  as  well  as  the 
enforced  widowhood  consequent  upon  the  death  of  the  husband. 

226  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought.      ■ 

Among  tlie  most  interesting  literature  on  the  subject  are  the 
"  Papers  relating  to  Infant  Marriage  and  Enforced  Widowhood  in 
India  "  (317),  Schlagintweit  (142),  etc.  The  evils  connected  with 
the  child-marriages  of  India  are  forcibly  brought  out  by  Mrs. 
Steel  in  several  of  the  short  stories  in  her  From  the  Five  Rivers 
(1893),  and  by  Richard  Garbe  in  his  beautiful  little  novel  The 
Redemption  of  the  Brahman  (1894). 

But  India  and  other  Eastern  lands  are  not  the  only  countries 
where  "  child-marriages "  have  flourished.  Dr.  F.  J.  Eurnivall 
(234),  the  distinguished  English  antiquary  and  philologist,  poring 
over  at  Chester  the  "  Depositions  in  Trials  in  the  Bishop's  Court 
from  November,  1561  to  March,  1565-6,"  was  astonished  to  find  on 
the  ninth  page  the  record:  "that  Elizabeth  Hulse  said  she  was 
married  to  George  Hulse  in  the  Chapel  of  Knutsford,  when  she 
was  but  three  or  four  years  old,  while  the  boy  himself  deposed 
that  he  was  about  seven,"  and  still  more  surprised  when  he  dis- 
covered that  the  volume  contained  "  no  fewer  than  twenty-seven 
cases  of  the  actual  marriage  in  church  of  the  little  boys  and  girls 
of.  middle-class  folk."  The  result  of  Dr.  Furnivall's  researches 
is  contained  in  the  one-hundred-and-eighth  volume  (original  series) 
of  the  Early  English  Text  Society's  Publications,  dealing  with 
child-marriages,  divorces,  ratifications,  etc.,  and  containing  a 
wealth  of  quaint  and  curious  sociological  lore.  Perhaps  the 
youngest  couple  described  are  John  Somerford,  aged  about  three 
years,  and  Jane  Brerton,  aged  about  two  years,  who  were  married 
in  the  parish  church  of  Brerton  about  1553.  Both  were  carried 
in  arms  to  the  church,  and  had  the  words  of  the  marriage  service 
said  for  them  by  those  who  carried  them.  It  appears  that  they 
lived  together  at  Brerton  for  ten  years,  but  without  sustaining 
any  further  marital  relations,  and  when  the  husband  was  about 
fifteen  years,  we  find  him  suing  for  a  divorce  on  account  of  his 
wife's  "  unkindness,  and  other  weighty  causes."  Neither  party 
seemed  affectionately  disposed  towards  the  other  (234. 26).  Other 
very  interesting  marriages  are  those  of  Bridget  Dutton  (aged  under 
five  years)  and  George  Spurstowe  (aged  six)  (234.  38) ;  Margaret 
Stanley  (aged  five)  and  Eoland  Dutton  (aged  nine),  brother  of 
Bridget  Dutton  (234.  41)  ;  Janet  Parker  (aged  five)  and  Lawrence 
Parker  (aged  nine  to  ten).  The  rest  of  the  twenty-seven  couples 
were  considerably  older,  the  most  of  the  girls  ranging  between 

The  Child  as  Social  Factor.  227 

eight  and  twelve,  the  boys  between  ten  and  fourteen  (234.  28). 
It  would  seem  that  for  the  most  part  these  young  married  couples 
were  not  allowed  to  live  together,  but  at  times  some  of  the  nuptial 
rites  were  travestied  or  attempted  to  be  complied  with.  In  two 
only  of  the  twenty-seven  cases  is  there  mention  of  "  bedding  " 
the  newly-married  children.  John  Budge,  who  at  the  age  of 
eleven  to  twelve  years,  was  married  to  Elizabeth  Kamsbotham, 
aged  thirteen  to  fourteen  years,  is  said  to  have  wept  to  go  home 
with  his  father  and  only  by  ''compulsion  of  the  priest  of  the 
Chapel "  was  he  persuaded  to  lie  with  his  wife,  but  never  had  any 
marital  relations  with  her  whatever,  and  subsequently  a  petition 
for  divorce  was  filed  by  the  husband  (234.  6).  In  the  case  of  Ellen 
Dampart,  who  at  the  age  of  about  eight  years,  was  married  to 
John  Andrew  aged  ten,  it  appears  that  they  slept  in  the  same 
bed  with  two  of  the  child- wife's  sisters  between  them.  No  marital 
relations  were  entered  upon,  and  the  wife  afterwards  sues  for  a 
divorce  (234.  15,  16). 

The  practice  seems  to  have  been  for  each  of  the  children  mar- 
ried to  go  to  live  with  some  relative,  and  if  the  marriage  were  not 
ratified  by  them  after  reaching  years  of  consent,  to  petition  for  a 
divorce.  In  some  nine  cases  the  boy  is  younger  than  the  girl,  and 
Humfrey  Winstanley  was  under  twelve  when  he  was  married  to 
Alice  Worsley  aged  over  seventeen ;  in  this  case  no  marital  rela- 
tions were  entered  upon,  though  the  wife  was  quite  willing ;  and 
the  husband  afterwards  petitions  for  a  divorce  (234. 2-4).  Thomas 
Dampart,  who  at  the  age  of  ten  years,  was  married  to  Elizabeth 
Page,  appears  to  have  lived  with  his  wife  about  eight  years  and 
to  have  kept  up  marital  relations  with  her  until  she  left  him  of 
her  own  motion.  Dr.  Furnivall  (234.  49-52)  cites  four  cases  of 
ratification  of  child-marriages  by  the  parties  after  they  have 
attained  years  of  discretion,  in  one  of  which  the  boy  and  the  girl 
were  each  but  ten  years  old  when  married.  The  most  naive  ac- 
count in  the  whole  book  is  that  of  the  divorce-petition  of  James 
Ballard,  who,  when  about  eleven  years  of  age,  was  married  in  the 
parish  church  of  Colne  at  ten  o'clock  at  night  by  Sir  Roger 
Blakey,  the  cuxate,  to  a  girl  named  Anne ;  the  morning  after  the 
ceremony  he  is  said  "  to  have  declared  unto  his  uncle  that  the 
said  Anne  had  enticed  him  with  two  Apples,  to  go  with  her  to 
Colne,  and  marry  her."     No  marital  relations  were  entered  upon, 

228  The  Child  in  Folk  -  Thought. 

and  the  curate  was  punished  for  his  hasty  and  injudicious  action 
(234.  45). 

Dr.  Furnivall  (234.  xxxv.)  quotes  at  some  length  the  legal 
opinion  —  the  law  on  infant  marriages  —  of  Judge  Swinburne 
(died,  1624),  from  which  we  learn  that  "infants"  (i.e.  children 
under  seven  years  of  age)  could  not  contract  spousals  or  matri- 
mony, and  such  contracts  made  by  the  infants  or  by  their  parents 
were  void,  unless  subsequently  ratified  by  the  contracting  parties 
by  word  or  deed,  —  at  twelve  the  girls  ceased  to  be  children,  and 
at  fourteen  the  boys,  and  were  then  fully  marriageable,  as  they 
are  to-day  in  many  parts  of  the  world.  Of  childhood.  Judge 
Swinburne  says,  "  During  this  age,  children  cannot  contract  Matri- 
mony de  prcesenti,  but  only  de  future  " ;  but  their  spousals  could 
readily  be  turned  into  actual  marriages  after  the  girls  were  twelve 
and  the  boys  fourteen,  as  Dr.  Furnivall  points  out. 

The  fifth  limitation  to  his  general  statement,  which  the  learned 
judge  made,  is  thus  strangely  and  quaintly  expressed :  "  The 
fifth  Limitation  is,  when  the  Infants  which  do  contract  Spousals 
are  of  that  Wit  and  Discretion,  that  albeit  they  have  not  as  yet 
accomplished  the  full  Age  of  Seven  Years,  yet  doth  their  suprar 
ordinary  understanding  fully  supply  that  small  defect  of  Age 
which  thing  is  not  rare  in  these  days,  wherein  Children  become 
sooner  ripe,  and  do  conceive  more  quickly  than  in  former  Ages  " 
(234.  xxxvi.). 

First  among  the  causes  of  these  child-marriages  Dr.  Furnivall 
is  inclined  to  rank  "the  desire  to  evade  the  feudal  law  of  the 
Sovereign's  guardianship  of  all  infants,"  for  "when  a  father  died, 
the  Crown  had  the  right  to  hold  the  person  and  estate  of  the  prop- 
ertied orphan  until  it  came  of  age,  and  it  could  be  sold  in  mar- 
riage for  the  benefit  of  the  Crown  or  its  grantee."  Moreover,  "if 
the  orphan  refused  such  a  marriage  with  a  person  of  its  own  rank, 
it  had  to  pay  its  guardian  a  heavy  fine  for  refusing  his  choice, 
and  selecting  a  spouse  of  its  own"  (234.  xxxix.).  Property-ar- 
rangement also  figures  as  a  cause  of  these  alliances,  especially 
where  the  bride  is  older  than  the  groom :  Elizabeth  Hulse  (aged 
four)  was  married  to  George  Hulse  (aged  seven)  "because  her 
friends  thought  she  should  have  a  living  by  him"  (234.  4). 
When  Elizabeth  Eamsbotham  (aged  13-14)  married  John  Bridge 
(aged  11-12),  "  money  was  paid  by  the  father  of  the  said  Eliza- 

The  Child  as  Social  Factor.  229 

beth,  to  buy  a  piece  of  land  "  (234.  6) ;  according  to  the  father 
of  Joan  Leyland  (aged  11-12),  who  married  Ralph  Whittall 
(aged  11-12),  "  they  were  married  because  she  should  have  had 
by  him  a  pretty  bargain,  if  they  could  have  loved,  one  the  other  " 
(234. 12)  ;  Thomas  Bentham  (aged  twelve)  and  Ellen  Bolton  (aged 
ten)  were  married  because  Richard  Bentham,  grandfather  of  Ellen, 
"was  a  very  wealthy  man,  and  it  was  supposed  that  he  would  have 
been  good  unto  them,  and  bestowed  some  good  farm  upon  them  " 
(234.  32);  the  marriage  of  Thomas  Fletcher  (aged  10-11)  and 
Anne  Whitfield  (aged  about  nine)  took  place  because  "John 
Fletcher,  father  of  the  said  Thomas,  was  in  debt ;  and,  to  get  some 
money  of  William  Whitfield,  to  the  discharge  of  his  debts,  mar- 
ried and  bargained  his  sonne  to  the  said  Whitfield's  daughter." 
The  "  compulsion  of  their  friends "  seems  also  to  have  been  a 
cause  of  the  marriages  of  children ;  Peter  Hope  (about  thirteen) 
married  Alice  Ellis  (aged  nine),  "because  it  was  his  mother's 
mind,  he  durst  not  displease  her  "  (234.  20,  23). 

So  far  the  evidence  has  related  to  unsatisfactory  and  unfortu- 
nate marriages,  but,  as  Dr.  Furnivall  remarks,  "  no  doubt  scores 
of  others  ended  happily ;  the  child-husband  and  -wife  just  lived 
on  together,  and  —  when  they  had  reached  their  years  of  discre- 
tion (girls  twelve,  boys  fourteen)  or  attained  puberty  —  ratified 
their  marriage  by  sleeping  in  one  bed  and  having  children" 
(234.  xix.,  203). 

Some  additional  cases  of  child-marriages  in  the  diocese  of 
Chester  are  noticed  by  Mr.  J.  P.  Earwaker  (234.  xiv.),  a  pioneer 
in  this  branch  of  antiquarian  research,  whose  studies  date  back 
to  1885.  The  case  of  John  Marden,  who,  at  the  age  of  three 
years,  was  married  to  a  girl  of  five  is  thus  described :  "  He  was 
carried  in  the  arms  of  a  clergyman,  who  coaxed  him  to  repeat  the 
words  of  matrimony.  Before  he  had  got  through  his  lesson,  the 
child  declared  he  would  learn  no  more  that  day.  The  priest 
answered:  'You  must  speak  a  little  more,  and  then  go  play 
you.'"  Robert  Parr,  who,  in  1538-9,  at  the  age  of  three,  was 
married  to  Elizabeth  Rogerson,  "was  hired  for  an  apple  by  his 
im^cle  to  go  to  church,  and  was  borne  thither  in  the  arms  of 
Edward  Bunburie  his  uncle  .  .  .  which  held  him  in  arms  the 
time  that  he  was  married  to  the  said  Elizabeth,  at  which  time 
the  said  Robert  could  scarce  speak."     Mr.  Earwaker  says  that  in 

230  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

the  Inquisitiones  post  mortem,  "  it  is  by  no  means  nnfrequent  to 
read  that  so  and  so  was  heir  to  his  father,  and  then  aged,  say,  ten 
years,  and  was  already  married  "  (234.  xxi.-xxxiii.). 

A  celebrated  child-marriage  was  that  at  Eynsham,  Oxfordshire, 
in  1541,  the  contracting  parties  being  William,  Lord  Eure,  aged 
10-11  years,  and  Mary  Darcye,  daughter  of  Lord  Darcye,  aged 
four.  The  parties  were  divorced  November  3,  1544,  and  in  1548, 
the  boy  took  to  himself  another  wife.  Dr.  Eurnivall  cites  from 
John  Smith's  Lives  of  the  Berkeleys,  the  statements  that  Maurice, 
third  Lord  Berkeley,  was  married  in  1289,  when  eight  years  old, 
to  Eve,  daughter  of  Lord  Zouch,  and,  before  he  or  his  wife  was 
fourteen  years  of  age,  had  a  son  by  her ;  that  Maurice,  the  fourth 
Lord  Berkeley,  when  eight  years  of  age,  was  married  in  1338-9, 
to  Elizabeth,  daughter  of  Hugh  Lord  Spenser,  about  eight  years 
old ;  that  Thomas,  the  fourth  Lord  Berkeley,  when  about  fourteen 
and  one-half  years  of  age,  was  married,  in  1366,  to  Margaret, 
daughter  of  Lord  de  Lisle,  aged  about  seven.  Smith,  in  quaint 
fashion,  refers  to  King  Josiah  (2  Kings,  xxiii.,  xxvi.).  King  Ahaz 
(2  Kings,  xvi.  2,  xviii.  2),  and  King  Solomon  (1  Kings,  xi.  42, 
xiv.  21)  as  having  been  fathers  at  a  very  early  age,  and  remarks : 
"  And  the  Fathers  of  the  Church  do  tell  us  that  the  blessed  Virgin 
Mary  brought  forth  our  Saviour  at  fifteen  years  old,  or  under " 
(234.  xxvii.). 

Even  during  the  seventeenth  and  eighteenth  centuries  child- 
marriages  are  numerously  attested.  Following  are  noteworthy 
cases  (234.  xxiii.) :  In  1626  Anne  Clopton,  aged  nearly  fourteen, 
was  married  to  Sir  Simonds  D'Ewes,  aged  nearly  twenty-four ;  in 
1673,  John  Power,  grandson  of  Lord  Anglesey,  was  married  at 
Lambeth,  by  the  Archbishop  of  Canterbury  to  Mrs.  Catherine 
Fitzgerald,  his  cousin-german,  she  being  about  thirteen,  and  he 
eight  years  old ;  at  Dunton  Basset,  Leicestershire,  in  1669,  Mary 
Hewitt  (who  is  stated  to  have  lived  to  the  good  old  age  of  seventy- 
seven)  was  married  when  but  three  years  old ;  in  1672,  the  only 
daughter  (aged  five)  of  Lord  Arlington  was  married  to  the  Duke  of 
Grafton,  and  the  ceremony  was  witnessed  by  John  Evelyn,  who, 
in  1679,  "  was  present  at  the  re-marriage  of  the  child  couple  " ;  in 
1719,  Lady  Sarah  Cadogan,  aged  thirteen,  was  married  to  Charles, 
Duke  of  Richmond,  aged  eighteen;  in  1721,  Charles  Powel,  of 
Carmarthen,  aged  about  eleven,  was  married  to  a  daughter  of 

The  Child  as  Social  Factor.  S81 

Sir  Thomas  Powel,  of  Broadway,  aged  about  fourteen;  in  1729, 
"  a  girl  of  nine  years  and  three  months  was  taken  from  a  board- 
ing school  by  one  of  her  guardians,  and  married  to  his  son " ; 
Bridget  Clarke,  in  1S83,  is  reputed  to  have  been  twenty-five 
years  old,  to  have  had  seven  children,  and  to  have  been  married 
when  only  thirteen;  at  Deeping,  Lincolnshire,  a  young  man  of 
twenty-one  married  a  girl  of  fourteen,  and  "  it  was  somewhat  of 
a  novelty  to  observe  the  interesting  bride  the  following  day 
exhibiting  her  skill  on  the  skipping-rope  on  the  pavement  in  the 
street."  !Mr.  Longstaff,  who  has  studied  the  annual  reports  of 
the  registrar-general  for  1851-81,  finds  that  during  these  thirty- 
one  years,  "  out  of  11,058,376  persons  married,  154  boys  married 
before  17,  and  862  girls  before  16.  Of  these,  11  boys  of  15  mar- 
ried girls  of  15  (four  cases),  16,  18  (two  cases),  20,  and  21.  Three 
girls  of  14  married  men  of  18,  21,  and  25.  Five  girls  of  15  mar- 
ried boys  of  16 ;  in  29  marriages  both  girl  and  boy  were  sixteen " 
(234.  xxxiii.). 

Further  comments  upon  infant  marriages  may  be  found  in  an 
article  in  the  Gentleman's  Magazine,  for  September,  1894,  the 
writer  of  which  remarks :  "  AYithin  recent  years,  however,  the 
discovery  has  been  made,  that,  so  far  from  being  confined,  as  had 
been  supposed,  to  royal  or  aristocratic  houses,  infant  marriages 
were,  in  the  sixteenth  century,  common  in  some  parts  of  England 
among  all  classes"  (367.  322). 

It  was  said  "marriages  are  made  in  heaven,"  and  that  some- 
times children  are  married  before  they  are  born ;  it  might  also  be 
said  "marriages  are  made  for  heaven,"  since  some  children  are  mar- 
ried after  they  are  dead.  In  some  parts  of  China  (and  Marco  Polo 
reported  the  same  practice  as  prevalent  in  his  time  among  the 
Tartars)  "  the  spirits  of  all  males  who  die  in  infancy  or  in  boy- 
hood are,  in  due  time,  married  to  the  spirits  of  females  who  have 
been  cut  off  at  a  like  early  age"  (166.  140). 

As  Westermarck  observes,  "  Dr.  Ploss  has  justly  pointed  out 
that  the  ruder  a  people  is,  and  the  more  exclusively  a  woman  is 
valued  as  an  object  of  desire,  or  as  a  slave,  the  earlier  in  life  is 
she  chosen;  whereas,  if  marriage  becomes  a  union  of  souls  as 
well  as  of  bodies,  the  man  claims  a  higher  degree  of  mental 
maturity  from  the  woman  he  wishes  to  be  his  wife." 

In  so  civilized  a  nation  even  as  the  United  States,  the  "  age  of 

232  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

consent"  laws  evidence  the  tenacity  of  barbarism.  The  black 
list  of  states,  compiled  by  Mr.  Powell  (180.  201),  in  a  recent 
article  in  the  Arena,  reveals  the  astonishing  fact  that  in  three 
states  —  Alabama,  North  Carolina,  South  Carolina — the  "age  of 
consent "  is  ten  years ;  in  four  states,  twelve  years ;  in  three  states, 
thirteen  years ;  in  no  fewer  than  twenty  states,  fourteen  years ; 
in  two  states,  fifteen  years ;  in  twelve  states,  sixteen  years ;  and 
in  one  state  (Florida),  seventeen  years.  In  Kansas  and  Wyoming 
alone  is  the  "  age  of  consent "  eighteen  years,  and  it  is  worthy  of 
note  that  Wyoming  is  the  only  state  in  the  Union  in  which 
women  have  for  any  considerable  length  of  time  enjoyed  the 
right  to  vote  on  exactly  the  same  terms  as  men.  In  England, 
the  agitation  set  going  by  Mr,  Stead,  in  1885,  resulted  in  the 
passage  of  a  law  raising  the  "  age  of  consent "  from  thirteen  to  six- 
teen years.  It  is  almost  beyond  belief,  that,  in  the  State  of  Dela- 
ware, only  a  few  years  ago,  the  "  age  of  consent "  was  actually 
as  low  as  seven  years  (180. 194) !  Even  in  Puritan  Kew  England, 
we  find  the  "  age  of  consent "  fixed  at  thirteen  in  New  Hampshire, 
and  at  fourteen  in  Connecticut,  Vermont,  and  Maine  (180.  195). 
It  is  a  sad  comment  upon  our  boasted  culture  and  progress  that, 
as  of  old,  the  law  protects,  and  even  religion  fears  to  disturb  too 
rudely,  this  awful  sacrifice  to  lust  which  we  have  inherited  from 
our  savage  ancestors.  There  is  no  darker  chapter  in  the  history 
of  our  country  than  that  which  tells  of  the  weak  pandering  to 
the  modern  representatives  of  the  priests  of  Bacchus,  Astarte, 
and  the  shameless  Venus.  The  religious  aspect  of  the  horrible 
immolation  may  have  passed  away,  but  wealth  and  social  attrac- 
tions have  taken  its  place,  and  the  evil  works  out  its  destroying 
way  as  ever.  To  save  the  children  from  this  worse  than  death, 
women  must  fight,  and  they  will  win ;  for  once  the  barbarity,  the 
enormity,  the  inhumanity  of  this  child-sacrifice  is  brought  home 
to  men  they  cannot  for  their  own  children's  sake  permit  the  thing 
to  go  on.  Here,  above  all  places  else,  apply  the  words  of  Jesus : 
"Whoso  shall  cause  one  of  these  little  ones  which  believe  on  me 
to  stumble,  it  is  profitable  that  a  great  millstone  should  be  hanged 
about  his  neck,  and  he  should  be  sunk  in  the  depths  of  the  sea." 
The  marriage-laws  of  some  of  the  states  savour  almost  as  much 
of  prehistoric  times  and  primitive  peoples.  With  the  consent  of 
her  parents,  a  girl  of  twelve  years  may  lawfully  contract  marriage 

The  Child  as  Social  Factor,  233 

in  no  fewer  than  twenty-two  states  and  territories;  and  in  no 
fewer  than  twenty,  a  boy  of  fourteen  may  do  likewise.  Among 
the  twenty-two  states  and  territories  are  included:  Connecticut, 
Delaware,  Maine,  Massachusetts,  New  Hampshire,  New  Jersey, 
Pennsylvania,  Rhode  Island,  Vermont;  and  among  the  twenty, 
Connecticut,  Delaware,  Maine,  Massachusetts,  Xew  Hampshire, 
New  Jersey,  Pennsylvania,  Rhode  Island,  Vermont.  In  some  of 
the  Southern  States  the  age  seems  to  be  somewhat  higher  than  in 
a  number  of  the  Northern.  The  existence  of  slavery  may  have 
tended  to  bring  about  this  result ;  while  the  same  fact  in  the  West 
is  to  be  accounted  for  by  the  vigour  and  newness  of  the  civilization 
in  that  part  of  the  country. 

Children's  Rights. 

Where,  as  in  ancient  Rome,  for  example,  the  patria  potestas 
flourished  in  primitive  vigour,  —  Mommsen  says,  "all  in  the 
household  were  destitute  of  legal  rights,  —  the  wife  and  the  child 
no  less  than  the  bullock  or  the  slave  "  (166.  229),  children  could  in 
nowise  act  as  members  of  society.  Westermarck  (166.  213-239) 
shows  to  what  extent  and  to  what  age  the  mundium,  or  guardian- 
ship of  the  father  over  his  children,  was  exercised  in  Rome,  Greece, 
among  the  Teutonic  tribes,  in  France.  In  the  latter  country  even 
now  "  a  child  cannot  quit  the  paternal  residence  without  the  per- 
mission of  the  father  before  the  age  of  twenty-one,  except  for  en- 
rolment in  the  army.  Por  grave  misconduct  by  his  children  the 
father  has  strong  means  of  correction.  A  son  under  twenty-five 
and  a  daughter  under  twenty-one  cannot  marry  without  the  con- 
sent of  their  parents ;  and  even  when  a  man  has  attained  his 
twenty-fifth  year,  and  the  woman  her  twenty-first,  both  are  still 
bound  to  ask  for  it,  by  a  formal  notification."  Westermarck's 
observations  on  the  general  subject  are  as  follows :  — 

"There  is  thus  a  certain  resemblance  between  the  family 
institution  of  savage  tribes  and  that  of  the  most  advanced  races. 
Among  both,  the  grown-up  son,  and  frequently  the  grown-up 
daughter,  enjoys  a  liberty  unknown  among  peoples  at  an  inter- 
mediate stage  of  civilization.  There  are,  however,  these  vital 
differences :  that  children  in  civilized  countries  are  in  no  respect 
the  property  of  their  parents;  that  they  are  born  with  certain 

234  The  OUld  in  Folk -Thought. 

rights  guaranteed  to  tliem  by  society  ;  that  the  birth  of  children 
gives  parents  no  rights  over  them  other  than  those  which  conduce 
to  the  children's  happiness.  These  ideas,  essential  as  they  are 
to  true  civilization,  are  not  many  centuries  old.  It  is  a  purely 
modern  conception  the  French  Encyclopaedist  expresses  when  he 
says,  '  Le  pouvoir  paternel  est  plutot  un  devoir  qu'un  pouvoir ' " 
(166.  239). 

Hie  Child  at  School. 

It  was  in  this  spirit  also  that  Count  Czaky  (when  Minister  of 
Education  in  Hungary),  replying  to  the  sarcastic  suggestion  of 
one  of  the  Deputies,  during  the  debate  on  the  revision  of  the  cur- 
riculum of  classical  studies,  that  "the  lazy  children  should  be 
asked  whether  they  liked  to  study  Greek  or  not,"  said  that 
"  when  it  became  necessary,  he  would  willingly  listen  to  the  chil- 
dren themselves."  That  children  have  some  rights  in  the  matter 
is  a  view  that  is  slowly  but  surely  fixing  itself  in  the  minds  of 
the  people,  —  that  the  school  should  be  something  more  than  an 
intellectual  prison-house,  a  mental  and  moral  tread-mill,  a  place 
to  put  children  in  out  of  the  way  of  the  family,  a  dark  cave  into 
which  happy,  freedom-loving,  joyous  childhood  must  perforce  retire 
from  that  communion  with  nature  which  makes  the  health  of  its 
body  and  the  salvation  of  its  soul.  This  false  theory  of  educa- 
tion is  vanishing,  however  tardily,  before  the  teachings  of  the 
new  psychology  and  the  new  anthropology,  which  demand  a 
knowledge  of  what  the  child  is,  feels,  thinks,  before  they  will  be 
party  to  any  attempt  to  make  him  be,  feel,  think,  something  differ- 
ent. The  school  is  but  a  modified  form  of  society,  of  its  funda- 
mental institution,  the  family.  Dr.  Eiccardi,  in  the  introduction 
to  his  Antropologia  e  Pedagogia,  —  in  which  he  discusses  a  mass 
of  psychological,  sociological,  and  anthropological  observations 
and  statistics,  —  well  says  (336.  12)  :  — 

"  The  school  is  a  little  society,  whose  citizens  are  the  scholars. 
The  teacher  has  not  merely  to  instruct  the  pupil,  but  ought  also 
to  teach  him  to  live  in  the  little  school-society  and  thus  fitly  pre- 
pare him  to  live  in  the  great  society  of  humanity.  And  just  as 
men  are  classified  in  human  society,  so  ought  to  be  classified  the 
scholars  in  the  little  school-society ;  and  just  as  the  teacher  looks 
upon  the  great  human  world  in  movement  upon  the  earth,  so 

The  Child  09  Social  Factor.  235 

ought  he  also  to  look  upon  that  little  world  called  the  school, 
observing  its  elements  with  a  positive  eye,  without  preconcep- 
tions and  without  prejudices.  The  teacher,  therefore,  in  regard  to 
the  school-organism,  is  as  a  legislator  in  regard  to  society.  And 
the  true  and  wise  legislator  does  not  give  laws  to  the  governed, 
does  not  offer  security  and  liberty  to  the  citizens,  until  after  he 
has  made  a  profound  study  of  his  country  and  of  society.  Let 
the  teacher  try  for  some  time  to  take  these  criteria  into  his 
school ;  let  him  try  to  apply  in  the  school  many  of  those  fact^ 
and  usages  which  are  commonly  employed  in  human  society,  and 
he  will  see  how,  little  by  little,  almost  unnoticeably,  the  primitive 
idea  of  the  school  will  be  modified  in  his  mind,  and  he  will  see 
how  the  school  itself  will  assume  the  true  character  which  it 
ought  to  have,  that  is,  the  character  of  a  microscopic  social  organ- 
ism. This  legislator  for  our  children,  by  making  the  children 
and  youths  clearly  see  of  themselves  that  the  school  is  nothing 
else  but  a  little  society,  where  they  are  taught  to  live,  and  by 
making  them  see  the  points  of  resemblance  and  of  contact  with 
the  great  human  society,  will  engender  in  the  minds  of  the  pupils 
the  conscience  of  duty  and  of  right;  will  create  in  them  the 
primitive  feeling  of  justice  and  of  equity.  And  the  pupils,  feel- 
ing that  there  is  a  real  association,  feeling  that  they  do  form  part 
of  a  little  world,  and  are  not  something  merely  gathered  together 
by  chance  for  a  few  houi-s,  will  form  a  compact  homogeneous  scho- 
lastic association,  in  which  all  will  try  to  be  something,  and  of 
which  all  will  be  proud.  In  this  way  will  the  assemblage  of  dis- 
parate, diverse,  heterogeneous  elements,  with  which  the  school 
begins  the  year,  be  able  to  become  homogeneous  and  create  a  true 
school  organism.  And  if  the  teacher  will  persevere,  whether  in 
the  direction  of  the  school,  in  the  classification  of  the  pupils,  or 
in  the  different  contingencies  that  arise,  in  applying  those  criteria, 
those  ideas,  those  forms,  which  are  commonly  employed  in  society, 
he  will  be  favouring  the  homogeneity  of  the  little  organism  which 
he  has  to  instruct  and  to  educate.  He  will  thus  have  always 
before  his  mind  all  the  organic,  psychic,  and  moral  characteristics 
of  human  society  and  will  see  the  differences  from,  and  the  resem- 
blances to,  those  of  the  school-organism.  In  so  far  will  he  have 
an  example,  a  law,  a  criterion,  a  form  to  follow  in  the  direction 
of  the  little  human  society  entrusted  to  him,  with  its  beautiful 

236  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

and  its  ugly  side,  its  good  and  its  bad,  its  vices  and  its  virtues. 
This  idea  of  the  school  as  an  organism,  however  much  it  seems 
destined  to  overturn  ideas  of  the  past,  will  be  the  crucible  from 
which  will  be  turned  out  in  the  near  future  all  the  reforms  and 
many  new  ideas." 

This  view  of  the  school  as  an  organism,  a  social  microcosm,  a 
little  society  within  the  great  human  society,  having  its  resem- 
blances to,  and  its  differences  from,  the  family  and  the  nation,  is 
one  that  the  new  development  of  "  child-study  "  seems  bound  to 
promote  and  advance.  Rank  paternalism  has  made  its  exit  from 
the  great  human  society,  but  it  has  yet  a  strong  hold  upon  the 
school.  It  is  only  in  comparatively  recent  times  that  mother- 
hood, which,  as  Zmigrodzki  says,  has  been  the  basis  of  our  civili- 
zation, has  been  allowed  to  exercise  its  best  influence  upon  the 
scholastic  microcosm.  Paternalism  and  celibacy  must  be  made 
to  yield  up  the  strong  grasp  which  they  have  upon  the  educational 
institutions  of  the  land,  and  the  early  years  of  the  life  of  man 
must  be  confided  to  the  care  of  the  mother-spirit,  which  the  indi- 
vidual man  and  the  race  alike  have  deified  in  their  golden  age. 
The  mother  who  laid  so  well  the  foundations  of  the  great  human 
society,  the  originator  of  its  earliest  arts,  the  warder  of  its  faiths 
and  its  beliefs,  the  mother,  who  built  up  the  family,  must  be 
trusted  with  some  large  share  in  the  building  of  the  school. 


In  Tlie  Story  of  a  Sand-Pile  (255),  President  G.  Stanley  Hall 
has  chronicled  for  us  the  life-course  of  a  primitive  social  com- 
munity—  nine  summers  of  work  and  play  by  a  number  of  boys 
with  a  sand-pile  in  the  yard  of  one  of  their  parents.  Here  we 
are  introduced  to  the  originality  and  imitation  of  children  in  agri- 
culture, architecture,  industrial  arts,  trade  and  commerce,  money 
and  exchange,  government,  law  and  justice,  charity,  etc.  The 
results  of  this  spontaneous  and  varied  exercise,  which,  the  parents 
say,  "  has  been  of  about  as  much  yearly  educational  value  to  the 
boys  as  the  eight  months  of  school,"  and  in  contrast  with  which 
"  the  concentrative  methodic  unities  of  Ziller  seem  artificial,  and, 
as  Bacon  said  of  scholastic  methods,  very  inadequate  to  subtlety 
of  nature,"  Dr.  Hall  sums  up  as  follows  (255.  696) :  — 

The  Child  as  Social  Factor.  237 

"Yery  many  problems  that  puzzle  older  brains  have  been  met 
in  simpler  terms  and  solved  wisely  and  well.  The  spirit  and 
habit  of  active  and  even  prying  observation  has  been  greatly 
quickened.  Industrial  processes,  institutions,  and  methods  of 
administration  and  organization  have  been  appropriated  and  put 
into  practice.  The  boys  have  grown  more  companionable  and 
rational,  learning  many  a  lesson  of  self-control,  and  developed  a 
spirit  of  self-help.  The  parents  have  been  enabled  to  control 
indirectly  the  associations  of  their  boys,  and,  in  a  very  mixed 
boy-community,  to  have  them  in  a  measure  imder  observation 
without  in  the  least  restricting  their  freedom.  The  habit  of  loaf- 
ing, and  the  evils  that  attend  it,  have  been  avoided,  a  strong 
practical  and  even  industrial  bent  has  been  given  to  their  devel- 
opment, and  much  social  morality  has  been  taught  in  the  often 
complicated  modus  vivendi  with  others  that  has  been  evolved. 
Finally,  this  may  perhaps  be  called  one  illustration  of  the  educa- 
tion according  to  nature  we  so  often  hear  and  speak  of." 

This  study  of  child-sociology  is  a  rara  avis  in  terra;  it  is  to  be 
hoped,  however,  that  if  any  other  parents  have  "  refrained  from 
suggestions,  and  left  the  hand  and  fancy  of  the  boys  to  educate 
each  other  imder  the  tvution  of  the  mysterious  play-instinct,"  they 
may  be  as  fortunate  in  securing  for  the  deeds  of  their  young  off- 
spring, as  observant  and  as  sympathetic  a  historian  as  he  who 
has  told  the  story  of  the  sand-pile  in  that  little  New  England 

Bagehot,  in  the  course  of  his  chapter  on  "Nation-Making," 
observes  (395.  91) :  — 

"  After  such  great  matters  as  religion  and  politics,  it  may  seem 
trifling  to  illustrate  the  subject  from  little  boys.  But  it  is  not 
trifling.  The  bane  of  philosophy  is  pomposity :  people  will  not 
see  that  small  things  are  the  miniatures  of  greater,  and  it  seems 
a  loss  of  abstract  dignity  to  freshen  their  minds  by  object  lessons 
from  what  they  know.  But  every  boarding-school  changes  as  a 
nation  changes.  Most  of  us  may  remember  thinking,  *  How  odd  it 
is  that  this  half  should  be  so  unlike  last  half;  now  we  never  go  out 
of  bounds,  last  half  we  were  always  going ;  now  we  play  rounders, 
then  we  played  prisoner's  base,'  and  so  through  all  the  easy  life  of 
that  time.  In  fact,  some  niling  spirits,  some  one  or  two  ascend- 
ant boys,  had  left,  one  or  two  others  had  come,  and  so  all  was 

238  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

changed.     The  models  were  changed,  and  the  copies  changed ;  a 
different  thing  was  praised,  and  a  different  thing  bullied." 

It  was  in  the  spirit  of  this  extract  (part  of  which  he  quotes), 
that  the  editor  of  the  "  Johns  Hopkins  University  Studies  in  His- 
torical and  Political  Science  "  happily  admitted  into  that  series  of 
monographs,  Mr.  J.  H.  Johnson's  Eudimentary  Society  among 
Boys  (272),  a  sociological  study  of  peculiar  interest  and  impor- 
tance —  "a  microcosm,  not  only  of  the  agrarian,  but  of  the 
political  and  economic  history  of  society."  Mr.  Johnson  has 
graphically  described  the  development  of  society  among  some 
fifty  boys  on  the  farm  belonging  to  the  McDonogh  School,  not 
far  from  the  city  of  Baltimore,  Maryland ;  land-tenure,  boy -legis- 
lation, judicial  procedure,  boy-economy,  are  all  treated  of  in 
detail  and  many  analogies  with  the  life  and  habits  of  primitive 
peoples  brought  out,  and  the  author  has  gone  a  long  way  towards 
realizing  the  thesis  that  "  To  show  a  decided  resemblance  between 
barbarian  political  institutions  and  those  of  communities  of  civi- 
lized children,  would  be  a  long  step  towards  founding  a  science 
of  Social  Embryology"  (272.  61). 

"  Gangs." 

Mr.  Stewart  Culin  (212)  in  his  interesting  account  of  the 
"  Street  Games  of  Boys  in  Brooklyn,  N.Y."  notices  en  passant 
the  existence  of  "gangs"  of  boys — boys'  societies  of  the  ruder 
and  rougher  kind.  As  evidence  of  the  extent  to  which  these 
organizations  have  flourished,  the  following  somewhat  complete 
list  of  those  known  to  have  existed  in  the  city  of  Philadelphia 
is  given :  — 

Badgers,  Bed  Bugs,  Bleeders,  Blossoms,  Bouncers,  Buena  Vistas, 
Buffaloes,  Bull  Dogs,  Bullets,  Bunker  Hills,  Canaries,  Clippers, 
Corkies,  Cow  Towners,  Cruisers,  Darts,  Didos,  Dirty  Dozen, 
Dumplingtown  Hivers,  Dung  Hills,  Fluters,  Forest  Eose,  Forties, 
Garroters,  Gas  House  Tarriers,  Glassgous,  Golden  Hours,  Gut 
Gang,  Haymakers,  Hawk-T  owners,  Hivers,  Killers,  Lancers,  Lions, 
Mountaineers,  Murderers,  Niggers,  Pigs,  Pluckers,  Pots,  Prairie 
Hens,  Railroad  Roughs,  Rats,  Ramblers,  Ravens,  Riverside, 
Rovers,  Schuylkill  Rangers,  Skinners,  Snappers,  Spigots,  Tigers, 
Tormentors,  War  Dogs,  "Wayne  Towners. 

The  Child  as  Social  Factor.  239 

Of  these  Mr.  Culin  remarks :  "  They  had  their  laws  and  cus- 
toms, their  feuds  and  compacts.  The  former  were  more  numerous 
than  the  latter,  and  they  fought  on  every  possible  occasion.  A 
kind  of  half-secret  organization  existed  among  them,  and  new 
members  passed  through  a  ceremony  called  'initiation,'  which 
was  not  confined  to  the  lower  classes,  from  which  most  of  them 
were  recruited.  Almost  every  Philadelphia  boy,  as  late  as  twenty 
years  ago,  went  through  some  sort  of  ordeal  when  he  first  entered 
into  active  boyhood.  Being  triced  up  by  legs  and  arms,  and 
swung  violently  against  a  gate,  was  usually  part  of  this  cere- 
mony, and  it  no  doubt  still  exists,  although  I  have  no  particular 
information,  which  indeed  is  rather  difficult  to  obtain,  as  boys, 
while  they  remain  boys,  are  reticent  concerning  aU  such  matters  " 
(212.  236). 

These  street-organizations  exist  in  other  cities  also,  and  have 
their  ramifications  in  the  school-life  of  children,  who  either 
belong  to,  or  are  in  some  way  subject  to,  these  curious  associa- 
tions. Every  ward,  nay,  every  street  of  any  importance,  seems 
to  have  its  "  gang,"  and  it  is  no  small  experience  in  a  boy's  life 
to  pass  the  ordeal  of  initiation,  battle  with  alien  organizations, 
and  retire,  as  childhood  recedes,  unharmed  by  the  primitive 

Xo  doubt,  from  these  street-gangs  many  pass  into  the  junior 
criminal  societies  which  are  known  to  exist  in  many  great  cities, 
the  training-schools  for  theft,  prostitution,  murder,  the  feeding- 
grounds  for  the  "  White  Caps,"  "  Molly  Maguires,"  "  Ku-Klux,'* 
"  Mafia,"  "  Camorra,"  and  other  secret  political  or  criminal  asso- 
ciations, who  know  but  too  well  how  to  recruit  their  numbers 
from  the  young.  The  gentler  side  of  the  social  instinct  is  seen 
in  the  formation  of  friendships  among  children,  associations 
born  of  the  nursery  or  the  school-room  which  last  often  through 
life.  The  study  of  these  early  friendships  offers  a  tempting  field 
for  sociological  reseaj-ch  and  investigation. 

Secret  Societies  of  the  Toung. 

There  are  among  primitive  peoples  many  secret  societies  to 
which  children  and  youth  are  allowed  to  belong,  or  which  are 
wholly  composed  of  such. 

240  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

Among  the  secret  societies  of  the  Kwakiutl  Indians,  of  British 
Columbia,  Dr.  Boas  mentions  the  "Keki'qalak-  (=the  crows)," 
formed  from  the  children  (403.  53).  The  same  author  speaks  of 
the  Tsimshians,  another  British  Columbia  tribe,  in  these  terms 
(403.  57) :  — 

"  A  man  who  is  not  a  member  of  a  secret  society  is  a  '  common 
man.'  He  becomes  a  middle-class  man  after  the  first  initiation, 
and  attains  higher  rank  by  repeated  initiations.  The  novice  dis- 
appears in  the  same  way  as  among  the  Kwakiutl.  It  is  supposed 
that  he  goes  to  heaven.  During  the  dancing  season  a  feast  is 
given,  and  while  the  women  are  dancing  the  novice  is  suddenly 
said  to  have  disappeared.  If  he  is  a  child,  he  stays  away  four 
days ;  youths  remain  absent  six  days,  and  grown-up  persons 
several  months.  Chiefs  are  supposed  to  stay  in  heaven  during 
the  fall  and  entire  winter.  When  this  period  has  elapsed,  they 
suddenly  reappear  on  the  beach,  carried  by  an  artificially-made 
monster  belonging  to  their  crest.  Then  all  the  members  of  the 
secret  society  to  which  the  novice  is  to  belong  gather  and  walk 
down  in  grand  procession  to  the  beach  to  fetch  the  child.  At 
this  time  the  child's  parents  bring  presents,  particularly  elk  skins, 
strung  on  a  rope  as  long  as  the  procession,  to  be  given  at  a  subse- 
quent feast.  The  people  surround  the  novice  and  lead  him  into 
every  house  in  order  to  show  that  he  has  returned.  Then  he  is 
taken  to  the  house  of  his  parents  and  a  bunch  of  cedar-bark  is 
fastened  over  the  door,  to  show  that  the  place  is  tabooed,  and 
nobody  is  allowed  to  enter."  The  dance  and  other  ceremonies 
which  follow  may  be  read  of  in  Dr.  Boas'  report. 

Dr.  Daniels,  in  his  study  of  Regeneration,  has  called  attention 
to  "  seclusion  "  and  "  disappearance,"  followed  by  reappearance 
and  adoption  as  members  of  society,  as  characteristic  practices  in 
vogue  among  many  savage  and  semi-civilized  tribes  with  respect 
to  children  and  those  approaching  the  age  of  puberty  —  a  change 
of  name  sometimes  accompanies  the  "  entering  upon  the  new 
life,"  as  it  is  often  called.  Of  the  Australians  we  read:  "The 
boy  at  eight  or  ten  years  of  age  must  leave  the  hut  of  his  father 
and  live  in  common  with  the  other  young  men  of  the  tribe.  He 
is  called  by  another  name  than  that  which  he  has  borne  from 
birth  and  his  diet  is  regulated  to  some  extent."  In  New  Guinea, 
in  Africa,  and  among  some  of  the  tribes  of  American  aborigines 

The  Child  as  Social  Factor.  241 

like  habits  prevail.  The  custom  of  certain  Indians  formerly 
inhabiting  Virginia  is  thus  described:  "After  a  very  severe 
beating  the  boys  are  sent  into  a  secluded  spot.  There  they  must 
stay  nine  months  and  can  associate  with  no  human  being.  They 
are  fed  during  this  time  with  a  kind  of  intoxicating  preparation 
of  roots  to  make  them  forget  all  about  their  past  life.  After 
their  return  home  everything  must  seem  strange  to  them.  In 
this  way  it  is  thought  that  they  '  begin  to  live  anew.'  They  are 
thought  of  as  having  been  dead  for  a  short  time  and  are  'num- 
bered among  the  older  citizens  after  forgetting  that  they  once 
were  boys '  "  (214.  11-13). 

In  the  African  district  of  Quoja  existed  a  secret  society  called 
Belly-Paaro,  "  the  members  of  which  had_to  spend  a  long  time 
in  a  holy  thicket.  WTioever  broke  the  rules  of  this  society  was 
seized  upon  by  the  Jannanes,  or  spirits  of  the  dead,  who  dwelt 
in  the  thicket  and  brought  thither,  whence  he  was  unable  to 
return"  (127.  I.  240).  Of  this  practice  Kulischer  remarks:  '"It 
is  a  death  and  a  new  birth,  since  they  are  wholly  changed  in  the 
consecrated  thicket,  dying  to  the  old  life  and  existence,  and  receiv- 
ing a  new  understanding.'  When  the  youths  return  from  the 
thicket,  they  act  as  if  they  had  come  into  the  world  for  the  first 
time,  and  had  never  known  where  their  parents  lived  or  their 
names,  what  sort  of  people  they  were,  how  to  wash  themselves  " 
(214.  12). 

Of  another  part  of  Africa  we  read:  "In  the  country  of 
Ambamba  each  person  must  die  once,  and  come  to  life  again. 
Accordingly,  when  a  fetich-priest  shakes  his  calabash  at  a  vil- 
lage, those  men  and  youths  whose  hour  is  come  fall  into  a  state 
of  death-like  torpor,  from  which  they  recover  usually  in  the 
course  of  three  days.  But  if  there  is  any  one  that  the  fetich 
loves,  him  he  takes  into  the  bush  and  buries  in  the  fetich-house. 
Oftentimes  he  remains  buried  for  a  long  series  of  years.  When 
he  comes  to  life  again,  he  begins  to  eat  and  drink  as  before,  but 
his  reason  is  gone,  and  the  fetich-man  is  obliged  to  train  him  and 
instruct  him  in  the  simplest  bodily  movements,  like  a  little  child. 
At  first  the  stick  is  only  the  instrument  of  education,  but  gradu- 
ally his  senses  come  back  to  him,  and  he  begins  to  speak.  As 
soon  as  his  education  is  finished,  the  priest  restores  him  to  his 
parents.     They  seldom  recognize  their  son,  but  accept  the  express 

242  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

assurance  of  the  feticero,  who  also  reminds  them  of  events  in  the 
past.  In  Ambamba  a  man  who  has  not  passed  through  the  pro- 
cess of  dying  and  coming  to  life  again  is  held  in  contempt,  nor  is 
he  permitted  to  join  in  the  dance  "  (529.  56). 

Some  recollection,  perhaps,  of  similar  customs  and  ideas  appears 
in  the  game  of  "  Euripsken,"  which,  according  to  Schambach,  is 
played  by  children  in  Gottingen :  One  of  the  children  lies  on  the 
ground,  pretending  to  be  dead,  the  others  running  up  and  singing 
out  "  Euripsken,  are  you  alive  yet  ?  "  Suddenly  he  springs  up 
and  seizes  one  of  the  other  players,  who  has  to  take  his  place, 
and  so  the  game  goes  on. 

Among  the  Mandingos  of  the  coast  of  Sierra  Leone,  the  girls 
approaching  puberty  are  taken  by  the  women  of  the  village  to  an 
out-of-the-way  spot  in  the  forest,  where  they  remain  for  a  month 
and  a  day  in  strictest  seclusion,  no  one  being  permitted  to  see 
them  except  the  old  woman  who  has  charge  of  their  circum- 
cision. Here  they  are  instructed  in  religion  and  ceremonial,  and 
at  the  expiration  of  the  time  set,  are  brought  back  to  town  at 
night,  and  indulge  in  a  sort  of  Lady  Godiva  procession  until 
daybreak.  At  the  beginning  of  the  dry-cool  season  among  the 
Mundombe  "  boys  of  from  eight  to  ten  years  of  age  are  brought 
by  the  '  kilombola-masters '  into  a  lonely  uninhabited  spot,  where 
they  remain  for  ninety  days  after  their  circumcision,  during  which 
time  not  even  their  own  parents  may  visit  them.  After  the  wound 
heals,  they  are  brought  back  to  the  village  in  triumph"  (127. 
I.  292). 

With  the  Kaffirs  the  circumcision -rites  last  five  months,  "  and 
during  this  whole  time  the  youths  go  around  with  their  bodies 
smeared  with  white  clay.  They  form  a  secret  society,  and  dwell 
apart  from  the  village  in  a  house  built  specially  for  them  "  (127. 
I.  292).  Among  the  Susu  there  is  a  secret  organization  known 
as  the  Semo,  the  members  of  which  use  a  peculiar  secret  lan- 
guage, and  "  the  young  people  have  to  pass  a  whole  year  in  the 
forest,  and  it  is  believed  right  for  them  to  kill  any  one  who 
comes  near  the  wood,  and  who  is  not  acquainted  with  this  secret 
tongue "  (127.  I.  240).  A  very  similar  society  exists  among  the 
tribes  on  the  Eio  Nunez.  Here  "  the  young  people  live  for  seven 
or  eight  years  a  life  of  seclusion  in  the  forest."  In  Angoy  there 
is  the  secret  society  of  the  Sindungo,  membership  in  which  passes 

The  Child  as  Social  Factor.  243 

from  father  to  son;  in  Bomma,  the  secret  orders  of  the  fetich 
Undembo;  among  the  Shekiani  and  the  Bakulai,  that  of  the 
great  spirit  Mwetyi,  the  chief  object  of  which  is  to  keep  in  sub- 
jection women  and  children,  and  into  which  boys  are  initiated 
when  between  fourteen  and  eighteen  years  old ;  the  Mumbo 
Jumbo  society  of  the  Mandingos,  into  which  no  one  under  six- 
teen years  of  age  is  allowed  to  enter  (127.  I.  241-247). 

Among  the  Mpongwe  the  women  have  a  secret  society  called 
Njembe,  the  object  of  which  is  to  protect  them  against  harsh 
treatment  by  the  men.  The  initiation  lasts  several  weeks,  and 
girls  from  ten  to  twelve  years  of  age  are  admissible  (127.  I. 

Of  the  Indians  of  the  western  plains  of  the  United  States  of 
America  we  are  told :  "  At  twelve  or  thirteen  these  yearnings  can 
no  longer  be  suppressed ;  and,  banded  together,  the  youths  of  from 
twelve  to  sixteen  years  roam  over  the  country ;  and  some  of  the 
most  cold-blooded  atrocities,  daring  attacks,  and  desperate  com- 
bats have  been  made  by  these  children  in  pursuit  of  fame" 
(432.  191). 

Among  the  Mandingos  of  West  Africa,  during  the  two  months 
immediately  follow^g  their  circumcision,  the  youths  "form  a 
society  called  SoUmana.  They  make  visits  to  the  neighbouring 
villages,  where  they  sing  and  dance  and  are  f^ted  by  the  inhabi- 

In  Angola  the  boys  "  live  for  a  month  under  the  care  of  a  fetich- 
priest,  passing  their  time  in  drum-beating,  a  wild  sort  of  singing, 
and  rat-hunting."  Among  the  Beit  Bidel  "all  the  youths  who 
are  to  be  consecrated  as  men  unite  together.  They  deck  them- 
selves out  with  beads,  hire  a  guitar-player,  and  retire  to  the  woods, 
where  they  steal  and  kill  goats  from  the  herds  of  their  tribe,  and 
for  a  whole  week  amuse  themselves  with  sport  and  song."  The 
Wanika  youths  of  like  age  betake  themselves,  wholly  naked,  to 
the  woods,  where  they  remain  until  they  have  slain  a  man."  On 
the  coast  of  Guinea,  after  their  circumcision,  "  boys  are  allowed 
to  exact  presents  from  every  one  and  to  commit  all  sorts  of 
excesses  "  (127.  I.  291-4). 

Among  the  Fulas,  boys  who  hare  been  circumcised  are  a  law 
unto  themselves  until  the  incision  has  healed.  They  can  steal 
or  take  whatever  suits  them  without  its  being  counted  an  offence. 

244  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

In  Bambuk,  for  fourteen  days  after  the  circuracision^fe,  the 
young  people  are  allowed  to  escape  from  the  supervision  of  their 
parents.  From  sunrise  to  sunset  they  can  leave  the  paternal  roof 
and  run  about  the  fields  near  the  village.  They  can  demand  meat 
and  drink  of  whomsoever  they  please,  but  may  not  enter  a  house 
unless  they  have  been  invited  to  do  so."  In  Darfur,  "  after  their 
circumcision,  the  boys  roamed  around  the  adjacent  villages  and 
stole  all  the  poultry"  (127.  I.  291). 

Modem  Aspects. 

These  secret  societies  and  outbursts  of  primitive  lawlessness 
recall  at  once  to  our  attention  the  condition  of  affairs  at  some  of 
our  universities,  colleges,  and  larger  schools.  The  secret  societies 
and  student-organizations,  with  their  initiations,  feasts,  and  ex- 
travagant demonstrations,  their  harassing  of  the  uninitiated,  their 
despisal  of  municipal,  collegiate,  even  parental  authority,  and 
their  oftentime  contempt  and  disregard  of  all  social  order,  their 
not  infrequent  excesses  and  debauches,  carry  us  back  to  their 
analogues  in  the  institutions  of  barbarism  and  savagery,  the  accom- 
paniments of  the  passage  from  childhood  to  manhood.  Of  late 
years,  the  same  spirit  has  crept  into  our  high  schools,  and  is  even 
making  itself  felt  in  the  grammar  grades,  so  imitative  are  the 
school-children  of  their  brothers  and  sisters  in  the  universities  and 
colleges.  Pennalism  and  fagging,  so  prevalent  of  old  time  in  Ger- 
many and  England,  are  not  without  their  representatives  in  this 
country.  The  "freshman"  in  the  high  schools  and  colleges  is 
often  made  to  feel  much  as  the  savage  does  who  is  serving  his 
time  of  preparation  for  admission  into  the  mysteries  of  Mumbo- 

In  the  revels  of  "  May  Day,"  "  Midsummer,"  "  Rogation  Week," 
"Whitsuntide,"  "All  Fools'  Day,"  "New  Year's  Day,"  "Hallow 
E'en,"  "  Christmas,"  "  Easter,"  etc.,  children  throughout  England 
and  in  many  parts  of  Europe  during  the  Middle  Ages  took  a  prom- 
inent part  and  rdle  in  the  customs  and  practices  which  survive 
even  to-day,  as  may  be  seen  in  Brand,  Grimm,  and  other  books 
dealing  with  popular  customs  and  festivals,  social  fUes  and  merry- 

In  Tennyson's  May  Queen  we  read :  — 

The  Child  as  Social  Factor.  245 

•♦  You  must  wake  and  call  me  early,  call  me  early,  mother  dear ; 
Ttf-morrow'U  be  the  happiest  time  of  all  the  glad  New  Year  ; 
Of  all  the  glad  New  Year,  mother,  the  maddest,  merriest  day  ; 
For  I'm  to  be  Queen  o'  the  May,  mother,  I'm  to  be  Queen  o'  the  May." 

And  a  "  mad,  merry  day  "  it  certainly  was  in  "  merry  England," 
when  the  fairest  lass  in  the  village  was  chosen  "Queen  of  the 
May,"  and  sang  merry  songs  of  Robin  Hood  and  Maid  Marian. 

Polydore  Virgil  tells  us  that  in  ancient  Rome  the  "  youths  used 
to  go  into  the  fields  and  spend  the  Calends  of  May  in  dancing 
and  singing  in  honour  of  Flora,  goddess  of  fruits  and  flowers." 
Westermarck  seems  to  think  some  of  these  popular  customs  have 
something  to  do  with  the  increase  of  the  sexual  function  in  spring 
and  early  summer  (166.  30). 

In  seizing  upon  this  instinct  for  society-making  among  children 
and  youth  lies  one  of  the  greatest  opportunities  for  the  preven- 
tion of  crime  and  immorality  the  world  has  ever  kno^Ti.  To  turn 
to  good  ends  this  spontaneity  of  action,  to  divert  into  channels 
of  usefulness  these  currents  of  child-activity,  will  be  to  add 
immensely  to  the  equipment  of  mankind  in  the  struggle  with 
vice.  A  certain  bishop  of  the  early  Christian  Church  is  credited 
with  having  declared  that,  if  the  authorities  only  took  charge  of 
the  children  soon  enough,  there  would  be  no  burning  of  heretics, 
no  scandalous  schisms  in  the  body  ecclesiastic;  and  there  is  a 
good  deal  of  truth  in  this  observation. 

The  Catholic  Church  and  many  of  the  other  Christian  churches 
have  seen  the  wisdom  of  appealing  to,  and  availing  themselves 
of,  the  child-power  in  social  and  socio-religious  questions.  Xot 
a  little  of  the  great  spread  of  the  temperance  movement  in  Amer- 
ica and  Europe  of  recent  years  is  due  to  the  formation  of  chil- 
dren's societies,  —  Bands  of  Hope,  Blue  Eibbon  Clubs,  Junior 
Temperance  Societies  and  Prohibition  Clubs,  Yoimg  Templars' 
Associations,  Junior  Father  Matthew  Leagues,  and  the  like, — 
where  a  legitimate  sphere  is  open  to  the  ardour  and  enthusiasm 
of  the  young  of  both  sexes.  The  great  ^lethodist  Church  has 
been  especially  quick  to  recognize  the  value  of  this  kind  of  work, 
and  the  junior  chapters  of  the  "Epworth  League" — whose  object 
is  "  to  promote  intelligence  and  loyal  piety  in  its  young  members 
and  friends  and  to  train  them  in  experimental  religion,  practical 
benevolence,  and  church  work  "  —  now  numbers  some  three  thou- 

246  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

sand,  witli  a  membership  of  about  one  hundred  and  twenty  thou- 
sand. This  society  was  organized  at  Cleveland,  Ohio,  May  15, 
1889.  The  "  Young  People's  Society  of  Christian  Endeavour,"  the 
first  society  of  which  was  established  at  Portland,  Maine,  Feb- 
ruary 2, 1881,  with  the  object  of  "  promoting  an  earnest  Christian 
life  among  its  members,  increasing  their  mutual  acquaintance,  and 
making  them  more  useful  in  the  service  of  God,"  has  now  enrolled 
nearly  thirty-four  thousand  "  Companies,"  with  a  total  member- 
ship (active  and  associate)  all  over  the  world  of  over  two  million ; 
of  these  societies  28,696  are  in  the  United  States  and  2243  in 
Canada.  Another  society  of  great  influence,  having  a  member- 
ship in  America  and  the  Old  World  of  some  thirty-five  thousand, 
is  the  "  Ministering  Children's  League,"  founded  by  the  Countess 
of  Meath  in  1885,  and  having  as  objects  ''to  promote  kindness, 
unselfishness,  and  the  habit  of  usefulness  amongst  children,  and 
to  create  in  their  minds  an  earnest  desire  to  help  the  needy  and 
suffering ;  to  give  them  some  definite  work  to  do  for  others,  that 
this  desire  may  be  brought  to  good  effect";  there  are  also  the 
"  Lend-a-Hand  Clubs  "  of  the  Unitarian  Church.  The  Episcopal 
Church  has  its  "  Girls'  Friendly  Societies,"  its  "  Junior  Auxiliaries 
to  the  Board  of  Missions  " ;  its  "  Brotherhood  of  St.  Andrew,"  and 
"  Brotherhood  of  Andrew  and  Philip,"  for  young  men.  For  those 
of  not  too  youthful  years,  the  "  Young  Men's  Christian  Associa- 
tion," the  associations  of  the  "  White,"  "  Red,"  and  "  Iron  Cross  " 
exist  in  the  various  churches,  besides  many  other  "  Guilds,"  "  Al- 
liances," "Leagues,"  etc.  For  those  outside  the  churches  there 
are  "  Boys'  Clubs,"  and  "  Girls'  Societies  "  in  the  cities  and  larger 
towns.  The  "  Bands  of  Mercy  "  and  the  branches  of  the  "  Society 
for  the  Prevention  of  Cruelty  to  Animals"  exert  a  widespread 
influence  for  good ;  while  several  of  the  secret  benevolent  associ- 
ations, such  as  the  "Foresters,"  for  example,  have  instituted 
junior  lodges,  from  which  the  youth  are  later  on  drafted  into  the 
society  of  their  elders.  There  exist  also  many  social  clubs  and 
societies,  more  or  less  under  the  supervision  of  the  older  members 
of  the  community,  in  which  phases  of  human  life  other  than  the 
purely  religious  or  benevolent  find  opportunity  to  display  them- 
selves ;  and  between  these  and  the  somewhat  sterner  church- 
societies  a  connecting  link  is  formed  by  the  "Friday  Night 
Clubs  "  of  the  Unitarian  Church  and  the  "  Young  People's  Asso- 

The  Child  as  Social  Factor.  247 

eiations"  of  other  liberal  denominations.  In  the  home  itself, 
this  society  instinct  is  recognized,  and  the  list  of  children's  teas, 
dinners,  parties,  "receptions,"  "doll-parties,"  "doll-shows,"  etc., 
would  be  a  long  one.  Among  all  peoples,  barbarous  as  well  as 
civilized,  since  man  is  by  nature  a  social  animal,  the  instinct  for 
society  develops  early  in  the  young,  and  the  sociology  of  child- 
hood offers  a  most  inviting  field  for  research  and  investigation 
both  in  the  Old  World  and  in  the  ;N"ew. 

The  Child  as  Linguist. 

But  what  am  I  ? 
An  infant  crying  in  the  night  : 
An  infant  crying  for  the  light, 
And  with  no  language  but  a  cry.  —  Tennyson. 

Yet  she  carried  a  doll  as  she  toddled  alone, 

And  she  talked  to  that  doll  in  a  tongue  her  own.  — Joaquin  Miller. 

Among  savages,  children  are,  to  a  great  extent,  the  originators  of  idiomatic 
diversities.  —  Charles  Rau. 

It  was  as  impossible  for  the  first  child  endowed  with  this  faculty  not  to  speak  in 
the  presence  of  a  companion  similarly  endowed,  as  it  would  be  for  a  nightingale 
or  a  thrush  not  to  carol  to  its  mate.  The  same  faculty  creates  the  same  neces- 
sity in  our  days,  and  its  exercise  by  young  children,  when  accidentally  isolated 
from  the  teachings  and  influence  of  grown  companions,  will  readily  account 
for  the  existence  of  all  the  diversities  of  speech  on  our  globe.  —  Horatio  Hale. 

Some  scientists  have  held  that  mankind  began  with  the  Homo 
Alalus,  speechless,  dumb  man,  an  hypothesis  now  looked  upon  by 
the  best  authorities  as  untenable;  and  the  folk  have  imagined 
that,  were  not  certain  procedures  gone  through  with  upon  the 
new-born  child,  it  would  remain  dumb  through  life,  and,  if  it  were 
allowed  to  do  certain  things,  a  like  result  would  follow.  Ploss 
informs  us  that  the  child,  and  the  mother,  while  she  is  still  suckling 
it,  must  not,  in  Bohemia,  eat  fish,  else,  since  fish  are  mute,  the 
child  would  be  so  also ;  in  Servia,  the  child  is  not  permitted  to 
eat  any  fowl  that  has  not  already  crowed,  or  it  would  remain 
dumb  for  a  very  long  time ;  in  Germany  two  little  children,  not 
yet  able  to  speak,  must  not  kiss  each  other,  or  both  will  be  dumb. 

The  Frenum. 

Our  English  phrase,  "  an  unbridled  tongue,"  has  an  interesting 
history  and  entourage  of  folk-lore.     The  subject  has  been  quite 



The  Child  as  Linguist.  249 

recently  discussed  by  Dr.  Chervin,  of  the  Institute  for  Stammerers 
at  Paris  (205).     Citing  the  lines  of  Boileau:  — 

•'  Tout  charme  en  un  enfant  dont  la  langue  sans  fard, 
A  peine  du  Jilet  encore  d^barrass6e 
Salt  d'un  air  innocent  b^yer  sa  pens^e," 

he  notes  the  wide  extension  of  the  belief  that  the  cutting  of  the 
Jilet,  or  frein,  the  frenum,  or  "  bridle  "  of  the  tongue  of  the  new- 
born infant  facilitates,  or  makes  possible,  articulate  speech.  Ac- 
cording to  M.  Sebillot,  the  cutting  of  the  sublet,  as  it  is  called, 
is  quite  general  in  parts  of  Brittany  (Haute  Bretagne),  and  M. 
Moisset  states  that  in  the  Yonne  it  is  the  universal  opinion  that 
neglect  to  do  so  would  cause  the  new-born  child  to  remain  dumb 
for  life ;  M.  Desaivre  cites  the  belief  in  Poitou  that,  unless  the 
lignoux  were  cut  in  the  child  at  birth,  it  would  prevent  its  suck- 
ing, and,  later  on,  its  speaking.  The  operation  is  usually  per- 
formed by  nurses  and  midwives,  with  the  nail  of  the  little  finger, 
which  is  allowed  to  grow  excessively  long  for  the  purpose  (205.  6). 
Dr.  Chervin  discusses  the  scientific  aspects  of  the  subject,  and 
concludes  that  the  statistics  of  stammering  and  the  custom  of 
cutting  the  frenum  of  the  tongue  do  not  stand  in  any  sort  of  cor- 
relation with  each  other,  and  that  this  ancient  custom,  noted  by 
Celsus,  has  no  real  scientific  raison  d'Mre  (205.  9).  We  say  that 
a  child  is  "  tongue-tied,"  and  that  one  "  makes  too  free  with  his 
tongue  " ;  in  French  we  find :  H  a  leJUet  Men  coupe,  "  he  is  a  great 
talker,"  and  in  the  eighteenth  century  II  n'a  pas  de  Jilet  was  in 
use ;  a  curious  German  expression  for  "  tongue-tied  "  is  mundfavX, 
"  mouth-lazy." 

Following  up  the  inquiry  of  Dr.  Chervin  in  France,  M.  Hofler 
of  Tolz  has  begvm  a  similar  investigation  for  Germany  (263). 
He  approves  of  the  suggestion  of  Dr.  Chervin,  that  the  practice 
of  cutting  the  frenum  of  the  tongue  has  been  induced  by  the 
inept  name  fremdum,  frein,  Bdndchen,  given  by  anatomists  to  the 
object  in  question.  According  to  H.  Carstens  the  frenulum  is 
called  in  Low  German  keekel-reem  or  kikkel-reem,  which  seems  to 
be  derived  from  kdkeln,  "  to  cry,  shriek,"  and  reem,  '*  band,  cord," 
so  that  the  word  really  signifies  '*'  speech-band."  If  it  is  cut  in 
children  who  have  difficvdty  in  speaking  before  the  first  year  of 
life,  or  soon  after,  they  will  be  cured  of  stuttering  and  made  to 

250  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

speak  well.  To  a  man  or  woman  who  does  a  good  deal  of  talking, 
who  has  "the  gift  of  the  gab,"  the  expression  Em  (ehr)  is  de 
keeJcelreem  gut  sudden  —  "  His  (her)  frenum  has  been  well  cut,"  is 
applied.  In  some  parts  of  Low  Germany  the  operation  is  per- 
formed for  quite  a  different  reason,  viz.,  when  the  child's  tongue 
cannot  take  hold  of  the  mother's  breast,  but  always  slips  off. 
Hofler  mentions  the  old  custom  of  placing  beneath  the  child's 
tongue  a  piece  of  ash-bark  (called  Schwindholz),  so  that  the  organ 
of  speech  may  not  vanish  (schwinden) ;  this  is  done  in  the  case  of 
children  who  are  hard  of  speech  (263.  191,  281). 

Ploss  states  that  in  Konigsberg  (Prussia)  tickling  the  soles 
of  the  feet  of  a  little  child  is  thought  to  occasion  stuttering; 
in  Italy  the  child  will  learn  to  stutter,  unless,  after  it  has  been 
weaned,  it  is  given  to  drink  for  the  first  time  out  of  a  hand-bell 
(326.  II.  286). 

Among  the  numerous  practices  in  vogue  to  hasten  the  child's 
acquisition  of  speech,  or  to  make  him  ready  and  easy  of  tongue,  are 
the  following :  some  one  returned  from  the  communion  breathes 
into  the  child's  mouth  (Austrian  Silesia) ;  the  mother,  when, 
after  supper  on  Good  Friday,  she  suckles  the  child  for  the  last 
time,  breathes  into  its  mouth  (Bohemia) ;  the  child  is  given  to 
drink  water  out  of  a  cow-bell  (Servia) ;  when  the  child,  on  the  arm 
of  its  mother,  pays  the  first  visit  to  neighbours  or  friends,  it  is 
presented  with  three  eggs,  which  are  pressed  three  times  to  his 
mouth,  with  the  words,  "  as  the  hens  cackle,  the  child  learns  to 
prattle"  (Thuringia,  the  Erzgebirge,  Bavaria,  Franconia,  and  the 
Harz) ;  when  a  child  is  brought  to  be  baptized,  one  of  the  relatives 
must  make  a  christening-letter  (Pathenbrief),  and,  with  the  poem 
or  the  money  contained  in  it,  draw  three  crosses  through  the 
mouth  of  the  child  (Konigsberg)  (326.  II.  205). 


Ploss  has  a  few  words  to  say  about  "  Volksgebrauchliche  Sprach- 
Exercitien,"  or  "  Zungen-Exercitien,"  the  folk-efforts  to  teach  the 
child  to  overcome  the  difficulties  of  speech  (326.  II.  285,  286), 
and  more  recently  Treichel  (373)  has  treated  in  detail  of  the 
various  methods  employed  in  Prussia.  In  these  exercises  exam- 
ples and  difficult  words  are  given  in  several  languages,  allitera- 

The  Child  as  Linguist  251 

tion,  sibilation,  and  all  quips  and  turns  of  consonantal  and  vocalic 
expression,  -word-position,  etc.,  are  in  use  to  test  the  power  of 
speech  alike  of  child  and  adult.  Treichel  observes  that  in  the 
schools  even,  use  is  made  of  foreign  geographical  names,  names 
of  mountains  in  Asia,  New  Zealand,  and  Aztec  names  in  Mexico ; 
the  plain  of  ApapuriJikasiqitinitschiquasaqua,  from  Immermann's 
Munchhaicsen,  is  also  cited  as  having  been  put  to  the  like  use. 
The  title  of  doctors'  dissertations  in  chemistry  are  also  recom- 
mended (373.  124). 

Following  are  examples  of  these  test  sentences  and  phrases 
from  German :  — 

(1)  Acht  und  achtzig  achteckige  Hechtskopfe ;  (2)  Bierbrauer 
Brauer  braut  braun  Bier ;  (3)  De  donne  Diewel"  drog  den  dicke 
Diewel  dorch  den  dicke  Dreck;  (4)  Esel  essen  Xesseln  gern; 
(5)  In  Ulm  und  um  Ulm  und  um  Ulm  herum;  (6)  Wenige 
wissen,  wie  viel  sie  wissen  miissen,  um  zu  wissen,  wie  wenig  sie 
wissen;  (7)  Es  sassen  zwei  zischende  Schlangen  zwischen  zwei 
spitzigen  Steinen  und  zischten  dazwischen;  (8)  Nage  mal  de 
Boll  Boll  Boll  Boll  Boll  Boll  Boll  Boll  Boll ;  (9)  Fritz,  Fritz, 
friss  frische  Fische,  Fritz ;  (10)  Kein  klein  Kind  kann  keinen 
kleinen  Kessel  Kohl  kochen. 

There  are  alliterative  sentences  for  all  the  letters  of  the  alpha- 
bet, and  many  others  more  or  less  alliterative,  while  the  humor- 
ous papers  contain  many  exaggerated  examples  of  this  sort  of 
thing.  Of  the  last,  the  following  on  "  Hottentottentaten "  will 
serve  as  an  instance  :  — 

"  In  dem  wOden  Land  der  Kaffem, 
Wo  die  Hottentotten  trachten 
Hohe  Hottentottentitel 
Zu  enverben  in  den  Schlachten, 
"Wo  die  Hottentottentaktik 
Lasst  ertonen  fern  und  nah 
Auf  dem  Hottentottentamtam 
Hottentottentattratah ; 
Wo  die  Hottentottentrotteln, 
Eh'  sie  stampfen  stark  und  kiihn. 
An  sich  selber  erst  vollzieh'n, 
"Wo  die  Hottentotten  tuten 
Auf  dem  Horn  vol!  Eleganz 

252  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

Und  nachher  mit  Grazie  tanzen 

Hottentottentotentanz,  — 

Dorten  bin  ich  mal  gewesen 

Und  ich  habe  schwer  gelitten, 

Weil  ich  Hottentotten  trotzte, 

Unter  Hottentottentritten ; 

So  'ne  Hottentottentachtel, 

Die  ist  namlich  fiirchterlich 

Und  ich  leid'  noch  heute 

An  dem  Hottentottentatterich  "  (373.  222). 

In  our  older  English  and  American  readers  and  spelling-books 
we  meet  with  much  of  a  like  nature,  and  the  use  of  these  test- 
phrases  and  sentences  has  not  yet  entirely  departed  from  the 
schools.  Familiar  are :  "  Up  the  high  hill  he  heaved  a  huge 
round  stone;  around  the  rugged  riven  rock  the  ragged  rascal 
rapid  ran ;  Peter  Piper  picked  a  peck  of  prickly  pears  from  the 
prickly-pear  trees  on  the  pleasant  prairies,"  and  many  others 
still  in  use  traditionally  among  the  school-children  of  to-day, 
together  with  linguistic  exercises  of  nonsense-syllables  and  the 
like,  pronouncing  words  backwards,  etc. 

In  French  we  have:  (1)  L'origine  ne  se  desoriginalisera  jamais 
de  son  origin  alite ;  (2)  A  la  sante  de  celle,  qui  tient  la  sentinelle 
devant  la  citadelle  de  votre  coeur !  (3)  Car  Didon  dina,  dit-on, 
Du  dos  d'un  dodu  dindon. 

In  Polish:  (1)  Byd/o  by/o,  byd^o  b^dzie  (It  was  cattle,  it  re- 
mains cattle)  ;  (2)  Podawa/a  baba  babie  przez  piec  malowane  gra^ 
bie  (A  woman  handed  the  woman  over  the  stove  a  painted  rake)  ; 
(3)  Chrzaszcz  brzmi  w  trzinie  (The  beetle  buzzes  in  the  pipe). 

Latin  and  Greek  are  also  made  use  of  for  similar  purpose. 
Treichel  cites,  among  other  passages,  the  following:  (1)  Quamuis 
sint  sub  aqua,  sub  aqua  maledicere  tentant  (Ovid,  Metam.  VI. 
376) ;  (2)  At  tuba  terribili  sonitu  taratantara  dixit  (Virgil,  Aen. 
IX.  503) ;  (3)  Quadrupedante  putrem  sonitu  quatit  ungula  cam- 
pum  (Virgil,  Aen,  VIII.  596) ;  (4)  A'ns  tiruTa  viSovSe  kvXlvScto 
Aaas  avxl■^'i  (Homer,  Odyss.  II.  598)  ;  (5)  TpLxOa  re  koI  TerpaxOa  • 
Sie'o-xco-ev  is  dve'/xoto  (Homer,  Odyss.  IX.  71,  II.  III.  363);  (6) 
'i2  fiaKap  'ArpeCSy}  fxoiprjycve^  oX/3to8at/«.ov  (Homer,  II.  III.  182). 

These  customs  are  not  confined,  however,  to  the  civilized 
nations  of  Europe.  Dr.  Pechuel-Loesche  tells  us  that,  among  the 
negroes  of  the  Loango  coast  of  Africa,  the  mother  teaches  the 

The  Child  as  Linguist. 


child  little  verses,  just  as  illogical  as  the  test-sentences  often  are 
which  are  employed  in  other  parts  of  the  world,  and  containing 
intentionally  difficult  arrangements  of  words.  The  child  whose 
skilful  tongue  can  repeat  these  without  stumbling,  is  shown  to 
visitors  and  is  the  cause  of  much  admiration  and  merriment. 
And  this  exhibition  of  the  child's  lingxiistic  and  mnemonic  powers 
finds  vogue  among  other  races  than  those  of  the  dark  continent 
(373.  125). 


A  very  curious  development  of  child-linguistics  is  seen  in  the 
so-called  ABC  Rhymes.  H.  A.  Carstensen  reports  from  Eisum- 
moor  in  Low  Germany  the  following  arrangement  and  interpre- 
tation of  the  letters  of  the  alphabet  (199.  55)  :  — 


A             B 
Aewel       baeget 


D             E 


Detlef           et 


G         H         J 


Grutte  Hans  jaeget  Kraege, 

L               M 


Lotte         maeget 


0             P 
Okke        plSkket 



R               S 


Rikkert       salt 


U             V 


Uethet    VOlkert 

waeder  ? 










G        H        J        K 

Great    Jack    hunts  crows. 



















Fetches    Volkert      water  ? 

From  the  North  Frisian  islands  of  Silt  and  Fohr  the  following 
ABC  rhymes  have  been  recorded,  consisting  mostly  of  personal 
names  (199.  192):  — 

1.  From  Silt:  ^Inna  5oyken,  (Thristian  Dojken,  ^rkel  Fred- 
den,  G^ondel  ZTansen,  Jens  7fuk,  iorenz  J/bmmen,  Alels  Otten, 
Peter  Quotten,  ^ink  /iSwennen,  Theide  CTwen,  Folkert,  irilhelm, 

2.  From  Fohr :  ^rest  5uhn,  Cike  Duhn,  Eh\en  Frodden,  Girra 
Say  en,  Jngke  A'ayen,  iurenz  JAinje,  A'ahmen  Ott,  Peter  Quott, 
JBekkert  skar,  Trintje  tm,  qui  we^,  x,  y,  z. 

3.  From  Fohr :  ^dntje  6rawt ;  Cisele  drug ;  Ehlen  /aid ;  (?6ntje 
Aolp;   Jngke  Arnad;  iena  mad;   A^ahmen  Okken;   Peter  Quastj 

254  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

jBord  iJiitjer;   /S'ab  /S'utjer;    Sorik  /S'tein;   Thur  Ordert;    TFogen 
wuhlet ;   Yhg  Zuhlet. 

From  Ditmarschen  we  have  the  following  (199.  290)  :  — 

1.  From  Stlderstapel  in  Stapelholm :  ^-JSeeter,  C-Z>eeter,  E- 
E/ter,  G-HaX&r,  /-/fater,  i-Emder,  iV-Oter,  Peter  Riister  sien 
Swester  harr  Biixsen  von  Manchester,  harr'n  Kleed  vun  Kattun, 
weer  Kofft  bi  Jud'n  (Peter  Rtlster  his  sister  has  breeches  from 
Manchester,  has  a  dress  of  cotton,  who  buys  of  Jews). 

2.  From  Tonningstedt  and  Feddringen :  ^-^eeter,  C-Z)eeter, 
^-E/ter,  G^-//ater,  J-A'ater,  i-Emder,  ^-Oter,  P-Kwter,  iy-Ester, 
T-Uier,  F-TFeeter,  X-Zeeter. 

In  Polish  we  have  a  rather  curious  rhyme  (199.  260) :  ^dam 
^abkie  Cukier  Da/,  ^wa  Pigi  G^ryz/a ;  //anko,  Jeko,  Aarol  Xerch 
^osi  Orla  Papa  iJuskigo  (Adam  to  the  old  woman  sugar  gave, 
Eve  figs  nibbled ;  Hanko,  Jeko,  Karol,  and  Lerch  carry  the  eagle 
of  the  Ruthenian  priest).  Another  variant  runs :  -4dam  iJabi 
Cucker  c?aje  Ew2k  /igi  grizi  ^ala  idzie  /in pic  Zala  mama  wie 
pozwala  (199.  150). 

At  Elberfeld,  according  to  0.  Schell,  the  following  rhyme  was  in 
use  about  the  middle  of  this  century  (199.  42) :  Abraham  Pock- 
mann;  Cepter  Dickmann;  ^ngel  Puawenkel;  (?retchen  ^ahn; 
/saak  ^reier;  iottchen  JIfeyer;  iVikolas  01k;  Pitter  ^ack; 
iJudolf  /Simon ;   Tante  ?7hler ;   Fater  TFettschreck ;  Xerxes  Fork. 

From  Leipzig,  L.  Frankel  reports  the  following  as  given  off  in 
a  singing  tone  with  falling  rhythm :  — 

B a  ba,  be  be,  b i  bi  —  babebi ;  b o  bo,  b u  bu  —  bobu ;  ba,  be, 
bi,  bo,  bu  —  babebibobu.  C  a  ca  (pron.  za,  not  Txd),  c  e  ce,  c  i  ci 
—  caceci ;  c  o  co,  c  u  cu  —  cocu ;  ca,  ce,  ci,  co,  cu  —  cacecicocu,  etc. 

From  various  parts  of  Ditmarschen  come  these  rhymes :  — 

A-B  ab, 

Mus  sitt  in't  Schapp, 
Kater  darfar, 
Mak  apen  de  Dar. 

A-B  ab, 

Mouse  sits  in  the  cupboard, 
Cat  in  front, 
Open  the  door. 

These  child-rhymes  and  formulse  from  North  Germany  find 
their  cognates  in  our  own  nursery-rhymes  and  explanatory  letter- 
lists,  which  take  us  back  to  the  very  beginnings  of  alphabetic 
writing.     An  example  is  the  familiar :  — 

"  A  was  an  Archer  that  shot  at  a  frog, 
B  was  a  Butcher  that  had  a  big  dog,"  etc.,  etc. 

The  Child  as  Linguist.  255 


Here  belong  also  the  curious  formulae  known  all  over  the 
United  States  and  English-speaking  Canada,  to  which  attention 
has  recently  been  called  by  Professor  Frederick  Starr.  When 
the  word  Preface  is  seen,  children  repeat  the  words,  "  Peter  ^ice 
EaXs  Fish  and  Catches  Eels,"  or  backwards,  "  £'els  Catch  ^li- 
gators ;  i^ther  EaXs  i?aw  Potatoes."  Professor  Starr  says  that 
the  second  formula  is  not  quite  so  common  as  the  first;  the 
writer's  experience  in  Canada  leads  him  to  express  just  the  oppo- 
site opinion.  Professor  Starr  gives  also  formulae  for  Contents  and 
Finis  as  follows:  "Pive  /rish  JViggers  In  >Spain,"  backwards 
"  Sin  /rish  diggers  In  Prance  " ;  "  Children  Ought  ^"ot  To  Pat 
Nnts  rill  /Sunday"  (355.  55).  Formulae  like  these  appear  to 
be  widespread  among  school-children,  who  extract  a  good  deal 
of  satisfaction  from  the  magic  meaning  of  these  quaint  expres- 

Another  series  of  formulae,  not  referred  to  by  Professor  Starr, 
is  that  concerned  with  the  interpretation  of  the  numerous  abbre- 
viations and  initials  found  in  the  spelling-book  and  dictionary. 
In  the  manufacture  of  these  much  childish  wit  and  ingenuity  are 
often  expended.  In  the  writer's  schoolboy  days  there  was  quite 
a  series  of  such  expansions  of  the  letters  which  stood  for  the 
various  secret  and  benevolent  societies  of  the  country.  /.  O.  G.  T. 
(Independent  Order  of  Good  Templars),  for  example,  was  made 
into  "  I  Often  Get  Tight  {i.e.  drunk),"  which  was  considered  quite 
a  triumph  of  juvenile  interpretative  skill.  Another  effort  was  in 
the  way  of  explaining  the  college  degrees:  P.^-l.  =  "Big  Ape," 
M.A.  =  "  Matured  Ape,"  B.D.  =  "  Bull-Dog,"  LL.D.  =  "  Long- 
Legged  Devil,"  etc.  Still  another  class  is  represented  by  the 
interpretations  of  the  German  u.  A.  w.  g.  (our  R.  S.  V.  P.),  i.e. 
"um  Antwort  wird  gebeten"  (an  answer  is  requested),  for  which 
A.  Treichel  records  the  following  renderings :  um  Ausdauer  wird 
gebeten  (perseverance  requested) ;  und  Abends  wird  getan2t  (and 
in  the  evening  there  is  dancing)  ;  und  Abends  wird  gegeigt  (and  in 
the  evening  there  is  fiddling) ;  und  Abends  wird  gegessen  (and  in 
the  evening  there  is  eating);  und  Andere  werden  gelastert  (and 
others  are  abused)  (392.  V.  114).  This  side  of  the  linguistic 
inventiveness  of  childhood,  with  its  double-entendre,  its  puns,  its 

256  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

folk-etymologies,  its  keen  discernment  of  hidden  resemblances 
and  analogies,  deserves  more  study  than  it  has  apparently 

The  formulae  and  expressions  belonging  to  such  games  as 
marbles  are  worthy  of  consideration,  for  here  the  child  is  given 
an  opportunity  to  invent  new  words  and  phrases  or  to  modify  and 
disfigure  old  ones. 

Formuloe  of  Defiance,  etc. 

The  formulae  of  defiance,  insult,  teasing,  etc.,  rhymed  and  in 
prose,  offer  much  of  interest.  Peculiarities  of  physical  consti- 
tution, mental  traits,  social  relationships,  and  the  like,  give  play 
to  childish  fancy  and  invention.  It  would  be  a  long  list  which 
should  include  all  the  material  corresponding  to  such  as  the  fol- 
lowing, well  known  among  English-speaking  school-children :  — 

1.  Georgie  Porgie,  Puddin'  Pie, 
Kissed  a  girl  and  made  her  cry  I 

2.  Blue-eyed  beauty, 

Do  your  mother's  duty  I 

3.  Black  eye,  pick  a  pie. 
Turn  around  and  tell  a  lie ! 

4.  Nigger,  nigger,  never-die, 
Black  face  and  shiny  eye  ! 

Interesting  is  the  following  scale  of  challenging,  which  Profes- 
sor J.  P.  Pruit  reports  from  Kentucky  (430.  229) :  — 

"  I  dare  you ;  I  dog  dare  you  ;  I  double  dog  dare  you. 
I  dare  you ;  I  black  dog  dare  you ;  I  double  black  dog  dare  you." 

The  language  of  the  school-yard  and  street,  in  respect  to  chal- 
lenges, fights,  and  contests  of  all  sorts,  has  an  atmosphere  of  its 
own,  through  which  sometimes  the  most  clear-sighted  older  heads 
find  it  difficult  to  penetrate. 

The  American  Dialect  Society  is  doing  good  work  in  hunting 
out  and  interpreting  many  of  these  contributions  of  childhood  to 
the  great  mosaic  of  human  speech,  and  it  is  to  be  hoped  that  in 
this  effort  they  will  have  the  co-operation  of  all  the  teachers  of 
the  country,  for  this  branch  of  childish  activity  will  bear  careful 
and  thorough  investigation. 

The  Child  as  Linguist,  257 


In  the  names  of  some  of  the  plants  with  which  they  early  come 
into  contact  we  meet  with  examples  of  the  ingenuity  of  children. 
In  Mrs.  Bergen's  (400)  list  of  popular  American  plant-names  are 
included  some  which  come  from  this  source,  for  example :  "  frog- 
plant  {Sedum  Telephmm)"  from  the  children's  custom  of  "  blow- 
ing up  a  leaf  so  as  to  make  the  epidermis  puff  up  like  a  frog  " ; 
"  drunkards  {Gaulteria  procumbens),"  because  "  believed  by  chil- 
dren to  intoxicate";  "bread-and-butter  (Smilax  rotundi folia)" 
because  "  the  young  leaves  are  eaten  by  children " ;  "  velvets 
(Viola pedata)"  a  corruption  of  the  "velvet  violets"  of  their 
elders;  " splinter- weed  (Antennariaplantaginifolia)"{vom.  "the 
appearance  of  the  heads  " ;  "  ducks  (Cypripediuni)"  because  "  when 
the  flower  is  partly  filled  with  sand  and  set  afloat  on  water,  it 
looks  like  a  duck  " ;  "  pearl-grass  (Glyceria  Canadensis)  "  a  name 
given  at  Waverley,  Massachusetts,  "by  a  few  children,  some 
years  ago."  This  list  might  easily  be  extended,  but  sufficient 
examples  have  been  given  to  indicate  the  extent  to  which  the 
child's  mind  has  been  at  work  in  this  field.  Moreover,  many  of 
the  names  now  used  by  the  older  members  of  the  community, 
may  have  been  coined  originally  by  children  and  then  adopted  by 
the  others,  and  the  same  origin  must  probably  be  sought  out  for 
not  a  few  of  the  folk-etymologies  and  word-distortions  which 
have  so  puzzled  the  philologists. 

"  Physonyms." 

In  an  interesting  paper  on  "  physonyms," — i.e.  "  words  to  which 
their  signification  is  imparted  by  certain  physiological  processes, 
common  to  the  race  everywhere,  and  leading  to  the  creation  of 
the  same  signs  with  the  same  meaning  in  totally  sundered  lin- 
guistic stocks  "  —  occurs  the  following  passage  (193.  cxxxiii.)  :  — 

"  One  of  the  best  known  and  simplest  examples  is  that  of  the 
widespread  designation  of  'mother'  by  such  words  as  mama, 
nana,  ana ;  and  of  *  father '  by  such  as  papa,  baba,  tata.  Its  true 
explanation  has  been  found  to  be  that,  in  the  infant's  first  attempt 
to  utter  articulate  sounds,  the  consonants  m,  p,  and  t  decidedly 
preponderate;   and  the  natural  vowel  a,  associated  with  these. 

258  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

yields  the  child's  first  syllables.  It  repeats  such  sounds  as 
morma-ma  or  pa-pa-pa,  without  attaching  any  meaning  to  them ; 
the  parents  apply  these  sounds  to  themselves,  and  thus  impart 
to  them  their  signification." 

Other  physonyms  are  words  of  direction  and  indication  of 
which  the  radical  is  fc  or  gr ;  the  personal  pronouns  radical  in 
n,  m  (first  person),  Tc,  t,  d  (second  person) ;  and  demonstratives 
and  locatives  whose  radical  is  s.  The  frequency  of  these  sounds 
in  the  language  of  children  is  pointed  out  also  by  Tracy  in  his 
monograph  on  the  psychology  of  childhood.  In  the  formation 
and  fixation  of  the  onomatopes  with  which  many  languages  abound 
some  share  must  be  allotted  to  the  child.  A  recent  praiseworthy 
study  of  onomatopes  in  the  Japanese  language  has  been  made  by 
Mr.  Aston,  who  defines  an  onomatope  as  ''the  artistic  representa- 
tion of  an  inarticulate  sound  or  noise  by  means  of  an  articulate 
sound"  (394.  333).  The  author  is  of  opinion  that  from  the 
analogy  of  the  lower  animals  the  inference  is  to  be  drawn  that 
"mankind  occupied  themselves  for  a  long  time  with  their  own 
natural  cries  before  taking  the  trouble  to  imitate  for  purposes  of 
expression  sounds  not  of  their  own  making"  (394.  334).  The 
latter  process  was  gradual  and  extended  over  centuries.  For  the 
child  or  the  "  child-man "  to  imitate  the  cry  of  the  cock  so  suc- 
cessfully was  an  inspiration ;  Mr.  Aston  tells  us  that  "  the  forma- 
tion of  a  word  like  cock-Or doodle-do,  is  as  much  a  work  of  individual 
genius  as  Hamlet  or  the  Laocoon"  (394.  335).  Of  certain  modern 
aspects  of  onomatopoeia  the  author  observes :  "  There  is  a  kindred 
art,  viz.  that  of  the  exact  imitation  of  animal  cries  and  other 
sounds,  successfully  practised  by  some  of  our  undergraduates  and 
other  young  people,  as  well  as  by  tame  ravens  and  parrots.  It 
probably  played  some  part  in  the  development  of  language,  but 
I  can  only  mention  it  here  "  (394,  333). 

College  Yells. 

The  "  college  yells  "  of  the  United  States  and  Canada  offer  an 
inviting  field  for  study  in  linguistic  atavism  and  barbaric  vocal 
expression.  The  New  York  World  Almanac  for  1895  contains  a 
list  of  the  "  yells  "  of  some  three  hundred  colleges  and  universi- 
ties in  the  United  States.     Out  of  this  great  number,  in  which 

The  Child  as  Linguist.  259 

there  is   a  plenitude  of  "Bah!  rah!  rah!"  the  following  are 
especially  noteworthy :  — 

Benzonia :    Kala,   kala,  kala  I    Sst,  Boom,   Gab !    Benzo,  Benzon-iah ! 

Whooo ! 
Buchtel :  Ye-bo  !    Te-hesa  !     Hisa  !     "Wow  wow  !     Buchtel ! 
Dartmouth :    Wah,  who,   wah  !   wah  who  wah  !   da-da-da,  Dartmouth ! 

wah  who  wah  !    T-i-g-e-r  ! 
Heidelberg :   Killi-killick  !     Rah,  rah,  Zik,  zik  !     Ha !    Ha !    Yi  !    Hoo  ! 

Bam  !    Zoo  !    Heidelberg  ! 

The  "yell"  of  Ohio  Wesleyan  University,  " O-wee-wi-wow ! 
Ala-ka-zTi-ki-zow !  Ea-zi-zi-zow !  Viva !  Viva !  0.  W.  U.  I "  is 
enough  to  make  the  good  man  for  whom  the  institution  is  named 
turn  uneasily  in  his  grave.  The  palm  must,  however,  be  awarded 
to  the  University  of  Xorth  Dakota,  whose  remarkable  "yell"  is 
this :  "  Odz-dzo-dzi !  Ri-ri-ri !  Hy-ah  I  Hy-ah !  Xorth  Dakota !  and 
Sioux  War-Cry."  Hardly  have  the  ancestors  of  Sitting  Bull  and 
his  people  suspected  the  immortality  that  awaited  their  ancient 
slogan.  It  is  curious  that  the  only  "  yell "  set  to  proper  music  is 
that  of  the  girls  of  Wellesley  College,  who  sing  their  cheer,  "  Tra 
la  la  la,  Tra  la  la  la,  Tra  la  la  la  la  la  la,  W-E-L-L-E-S-I^E-Y, 

As  is  the  case  with  other  practices  in  collegiate  life,  these 
"yells"  seem  to  be  making  their  way  down  into  the  high  and 
grammar  schools,  as  well  as  into  the  private  secondary  schools, 
the  popularity  and  excitement  of  field-sports  and  games,  base- 
ball, foot-ball,  etc.,  giving  occasion  enough  for  their  frequent 

Here  fall  also  the  spontaneous  shouts  and  cries  of  children  at 
work  and  at  play,  the  Ki-yah !  and  others  of  a  like  nature  whose 
number  is  almost  infinite, 

Mr.  Charles  Ledyard  Norton,  in  his  Political  Americanisms  (New 
York,  1890),  informs  us  that  "the  peculiar  staccato  cheer,  *rah, 
rah,  rah ! '  "  was  probably  invented  at  Harvard  in  1864.  In  the 
Blaine  campaign  of  1884  it  was  introduced  into  political  meetings 
and  processions  together  with  "  the  custom,  also  borrowed  from 
the  colleges,  of  spelling  some  temporarily  significant  catch-word 
in  tmison,  as,  for  instance,  '  S-oa-p  I '  the  separate  letters  being 
pronounced  in  perfect  time  by  several  hundred  voices  at  once." 
The  same  authority  thinks  that  the  idea  of  calling  out  "  Blaine  — 

260  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

Blaine  —  James  G.  Blaine!"  in  cadenced  measure  after  the  man- 
ner of  the  drill-sergeants,  "Left  —  left  —  left  —  right  —  left!  "  an 
idea  which  had  many  imitations  and  elaborations  among  the  mem- 
bers of  both  the  great  political  parties,  can  be  traced  back  to  the 
Columbia  College  students  (p.  120). 

The  Child  as  an  Innovator  in  Language. 

But  the  rdle  of  the  child  in  the  development  of  language  is  con- 
cerned with  other  things  than  physonyms  and  onomatopes.  In 
his  work  on  Brazilian  ethnography  and  philology.  Dr.  von  Mar- 
tins writes  (522.  43) :  "  A  language  is  often  confined  to  a  few 
individuals  connected  by  relationship,  forming  thus,  as  it  were, 
a  family  institute,  which  isolates  those  who  use  it  from  all  neigh- 
bouring or  distant  tribes  so  completely  that  an  understanding 
becomes  impossible."  This  intimate  connection  of  language  with 
the  family,  this  preservation  and  growth  of  language,  as  a  family 
institution,  has,  as  Dr.  von  Martins  points  out,  an  interesting 
result  (522.  44)  :  — 

"The  Brazilians  frequently  live  in  small  detachments,  being 
kept  apart  by  the  chase ;  sometimes  only  a  few  families  wander 
together ;  often  it  is  one  family  alone.  Within  the  family  the 
language  suffers  a  constant  remodelling.  One  of  the  children 
will  fail  to  catch  precisely  the  radical  sound  of  a  word ;  and  the 
weak  parents,  instead  of  accustoming  it  to  pronounce  the  word 
correctly,  will  yield,  perhaps,  themselves,  and  adopt  the  language 
of  the  child.  We  often  were  accompanied  by  persons  of  the  same 
band ;  yet  we  noticed  in  each  of  them  slight  differences  in  accen- 
tuation and  change  of  sound.  His  comrades,  however,  under- 
stood him,  and  they  were  understood  by  him.  As  a  consequence, 
their  language  never  can  become  stationary,  but  will  constantly 
break  off  into  new  dialects."  Upon  these  words  of  von  Martius 
(reported  by  Dr.  Oscar  Peschel),  Dr.  Charles  Rau  comments  as 
follows  (522.  44) :  "  Thus  it  would  seem  that,  among  savages, 
children  are  to  a  great  extent  the  originators  of  idiomatic  diver- 
sities. Dr.  Peschel  places  particular  stress  on  this  circumstance, 
and  alludes  to  the  habit  of  over-indulgent  parents  among  refined 
nations  of  conforming  to  the  humours  of  their  children  by  con- 
versing with  them  in  a  kind  of  infantine  language,  until  they  are 

The  Child  as  Linguist.  261 

several  years  old.  Afterward,  of  course,,  the  rules  of  civilized 
life  compel  these  children  to  adopt  the  proper  language ;  but  no 
such  necessity  exists  among  a  hunter  family  in  the  primeval  for- 
ests of  South  America ;  here  the  deviating  form  of  speech  remains, 
and  the  foundation  of  a  new  dialect  is  laid." 

Children- s  Languages. 

But  little  attention  has  been  paid  to  the  study  of  the  language 
of  children  among  primitive  people.  In  connection  with  a  brief 
investigation  of  child-words  in  the  aboriginal  tongues  of  America, 
Mr.  Horatio  Hale  communicated  to  the  present  writer  the  follow- 
ing observation  of  M.  I'Abbe  Cuoq,  of  Montreal,  the  distinguished 
missionary  and  lingmst:  "As  far  as  the  Iroquois  in  particular 
are  concerned,  it  is  certain  that  this  language  [langage  enfantin] 
is  current  in  every  family,  and  that  the  child's  relatives,  especially 
the  mothers,  teach  it  to  their  children,  and  that  the  latter  conse- 
quently merely  repeat  the  words  of  which  it  is  composed  "  (201. 
322).  That  these  "  child-words  "  were  invented  by  children,  the 
Abbe  does  not  seem  to  hint. 

The  prominence  of  the  mother-influence  in  the  child's  linguistic 
development  is  also  accentuated  by  Professor  ^Slason,  who  devotes 
a  chapter  of  his  recent  work  on  woman's  part  in  the  origin  and 
growth  of  civilization  to  woman  as  a  linguist  The  author  points 
out  how  "  women  have  helped  to  the  selection  and  preservation 
of  language  through  onomatopoeia,"  their  vocal  apparatus  being 
"singularly  adapted  to  the  imitation  of  many  natural  sounds," 
and  their  ears  "  quick  to  catch  the  sounds  within  the  compass  of 
the  voice  "  (113.  188-204).  To  the  female  child,  then,  we  owe  a 
good  deal  of  that  which  is  now  embodied  in  our  modern  speech, 
and  the  debt  of  primitive  races  is  still  greater.  Many  a  traveller 
has  found,  indeed,  a  child  the  best  available  source  of  linguistic 
information,  when  the  idling  warriors  in  their  pride,  and  the 
hard-working  women  in  their  shyness,  or  taboo-caused  fear,  failed 
to  respond  at  all  to  his  requests  for  talk  or  song. 

Canon  Farrar,  in  his  Chapters  on  Language,  makes  the  state- 
ment :  "  It  is  a  well-known  fact  that  the  neglected  children,  in 
some  of  the  Canadian  and  Indian  villages,  who  are  left  alone  for 
days,  can  and  do  invent  for  themselves  a  sort  of  lingua  franca, 

262  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

partially  or  wholly  unintelligible  to  all  except  themselves  "  (200. 
237).  Mr.  W.  W.  Newell  speaks  of  the  linguistic  inventiveness 
of  children  in  these  terms  (313.  24)  :  — 

"  As  infancy  begins  to  speak  by  the  free  though  unconscious 
combination  of  linguistic  elements,  so  childhood  retains  in  lan- 
guage a  measure  of  freedom.  A  little  attention  to  the  jargons 
invented  by  children  might  have  been  serviceable  to  certain 
philologists.  Their  love  of  originality  finds  the  tongue  of  their 
elders  too  commonplace ;  besides,  their  fondness  for  mystery 
requires  secret  ways  of  communication.  They,  therefore,  often 
create  (so  to  speak)  new  languages,  which  are  formed  by  changes 
in  the  mother-speech,  but  sometimes  have  quite  complicated  laws 
of  structure  and  a  considerable  arbitrary  element."  The  author 
cites  examples  of  the  "Hog  Latin"  of  New  England  school- 
children, in  the  elaboration  of  which  much  youthful  ingenuity 
is  expended.  Most  interesting  is  the  brief  account  of  the  "  cat " 
language : — 

"  A  group  of  children  near  Boston  invented  the  cat  language,  so 
called  because  its  object  was  to  admit  of  free  intercourse  with 
<jats,  to  whom  it  was  mostly  talked,  and  by  whom  it  was  pre- 
sumed to  be  comprehended.  In  this  tongue  the  cat  was  natu- 
rally the  chief  subject  of  nomenclature ;  all  feline  positions  were 
•observed  and  named,  and  the  language  was  rich  in  such  epithets, 
as  Arabic  contains  a  vast  number  of  expressions  for  lion.  Euphonic 
changes  were  very  arbitrary  and  various,  differing  for  the  same 
termination;  but  the  adverbial  ending  -ly  was  always  -osli;  terri- 
bly, terriblosh.  A  certain  percentage  of  words  were  absolutely 
independent,  or  at  least  of  obscure  origin.  The  grammar  tended 
to  Chinese  or  infantine  simplicity;  ta  represented  any  case  of 
any  personal  pronoun.  A  proper  name  might  vary  in  sound 
according  to  the  euphonic  requirements  of  the  different  Chris- 
tian names  by  which  it  was  preceded.  There  were  two  dialects, 
one,  however,  stigmatized  as  provincial.  This  invention  of  lan- 
guage must  be  very  common,  since  other  cases  have  fallen  under 
our  notice  in  which  children  have  composed  dictionaries  of  such  " 
(313.  25). 

This  characterization  of  child-speech  offers  not  a  few  points  of 
contact  with  primitive  languages,  and  might  indeed  almost  have 
been  written  of  one  of  them. 

The  Child  as  Linguist.  263 

More  recently  Colonel  Higginson  (262)  has  given  some  details 
of  "  a  language  formed  for  their  own  amusement  by  two  girls  of 
thirteen  or  thereabouts,  both  the  children  of  eminent  scientific 
men,  and  both  unusually  active-minded  and  observant."  This 
dialect  "  is  in  the  most  vivid  sense  a  living  language,"  and  the 
inventors,  who  keep  pruning  and  improving  it,  possess  a  manu- 
script dictionary  of  some  two  hundred  words,  which,  it  is  to  be 
hoped,  will  some  day  be  published.  An  example  or  two  from 
those  given  by  Colonel  Higginson  will  serve  to  indicate  the  gen- 
eral character  of  the  vocabulary :  — 

bojiwassis,  "the  feeling  you  have  just  before  you  jump,  don't  you  know  — 
when  you  mean  to  jump  and  want  to  do  it,  and  are  just  a  little  bit  afraid 
to  do  it." 

spygri,  "  the  way  you  feel  when  you  have  just  jumped  and  are  awfully  proud 
of  it." 

pippadolify,  "stiff  and  starched  like  the  young  officers  at  "Washington." 

Other  information  respecting  this  "home-made  dialect,"  with 
its  revising  academy  of  children  and  its  standard  dictionary,  must 
be  sought  in  the  entertaining  pages  of  Colonel  Higginson,  who 
justly  says  of  this  triumph  of  child-invention :  "  It  coins  thought 
into  syllables,  and  one  can  see  that,  if  a  group  of  children  like 
these  were  taken  and  isolated  until  they  grew  up,  they  would 
forget  in  time  which  words  were  their  own  and  which  were  in 
Worcester's  Dictionary;  and  stonrish  and  krono  and  bojiicassis 
would  gradually  become  permanent  forms  of  speech  "  (262.  108). 

In  his  valuable  essay  on  The  Origin  of  Languages  (249),  Mr. 
Horatio  Hale  discusses  a  number  of  cases  of  invention  of  languages 
by  children,  giving  interesting,  though  (owing  to  the  neglect  of 
the  observers)  not  very  extensive,  details  of  each. 

One  of  the  most  curious  instances  of  the  linguistic  inventive- 
ness of  children  is  the  case  of  the  Boston  twins  (of  German 
descent  on  the  mother's  side)  born  in  1860,  regarding  whose  lan- 
guage a  few  details  were  given  by  Miss  E.  H.  Watson,  who  says : 
"  At  the  usual  age  these  twins  began  to  talk,  but,  strange  to  say, 
not  their  *  mother-tongue.'  They  had  a  language  of  their  own, 
and  no  pains  could  induce  them  to  speak  anything  else.  It  was 
in  vain  that  a  little  sister,  five  years  older  than  they,  tried  to 
make  them  speak  their  native  language,  —  as  it  would  have  been. 

264  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

They  persistently  refused  to  utter  a  syllable  of  English.  Not  even 
the  usual  first  words, '  papa,' '  mamma,' '  father,'  ^  mother,'  it  is  said, 
did  they  ever  speak ;  and,  said  the  lady  who  gave  this  informa- 
tion to  the  writer,  —  who  was  an  aunt  of  the  children,  and  whose 
home  was  with  them,  —  they  were  never  known  during  this  inter- 
val to  call  their  mother  by  that  name.  They  had  their  own  name 
for  her,  but  never  the  English.  In  fact,  though  they  had  the 
usual  affections,  were  rejoiced  to  see  their  father  at  his  returning 
home  each  night,  playing  with  him,  etc.,  they  would  seem  to  have 
been  otherwise  completely  taken  up,  absorbed,  with  each  other. 
.  .  .  The  children  had  not  yet  been  to  school ;  for,  not  being 
able  to  speak  their  '  own  English,'  it  seemed  impossible  to  send 
them  from  home.  They  thus  passed  the  days,  playing  and  talking 
together  in  their  own  speech,  with  all  the  liveliness  and  volubility 
of  common  children.  Their  accent  was  German,  —  as  it  seemed 
to  the  family.  They  had  regular  words,  a  few  of  which  the 
family  learned  sometimes  to  distinguish;  as  that,  for  example, 
for  carriage  [ni-si-boo-a],  which,  on  hearing  one  pass  in  the  street, 
they  would  exclaim  out,  and  run  to  the  window  "  (249.  11).  We 
are  further  informed  that,  when  the  children  were  six  or  seven 
years  old,  they  were  sent  to  school,  but  for  a  week  remained 
'*  perfectly  mute " ;  indeed,  "  not  a  sound  could  be  heard  from 
them,  but  they  sat  with  their  eyes  intently  fixed  upon  the  chil- 
dren, seeming  to  be  watching  their  every  motion,  —  and  no  doubt, 
listening  to  every  sound.  At  the  end  of  that  time  they  were 
induced  to  utter  some  words,  and  gradually  and  naturally  they 
began,  for  the  first  time,  to  learn  their  '  native  English.'  With 
this  accomplishment,  the  other  began  also  naturally  to  fade  away, 
until  the  memory  with  the  use  of  it  passed  from  their  mind" 
(249.  12). 

Mr.  Horatio  Hale,  who  resumes  the  case  just  noticed  in  his 
address  before  the  Anthropological  Section  of  the  American 
Association  for  the  Advancement  of  Science  (Buffalo,  1886), 
gives  also  valuable  details  of  the  language  of  a  little  four-year- 
old  girl  and  her  younger  brother  in  Albany,  as  reported  by 
Dr.  E.  R.  Hun  (249.  13).  The  chief  facts  are  as  follows :  "  The 
mother  observed  when  she  was  two  years  old  that  she  was  back- 
ward in  speaking,  and  only  used  the  words  ' papa'  and  'mamma.' 
After  that  she  began  to  use  words  of  her  own  invention,  and 

The  Child  as  Linguist.  265 

though  she  readily  understood  what  was  said,  never  employed  the 
words  used  by  others.  Gradually  she  extended  her  vocabulary 
until  it  reached  the  extent  described  below  [at  least  twenty-one 
distinct  words,  many  of  which  were  used  in  a  great  variety  of 
meanings].  She  has  a  brother  eighteen  months  younger  than 
herself,  who  has  learned  her  language,  so  that  they  talk  freely 
together.  He,  however,  seems  to  have  adopted  it  only  because 
he  has  more  intercourse  with  her  than  with  others ;  and  in  some 
instances  he  will  use  a  proper  word  with  his  mother,  and  his  sis- 
ter's word  with  her.  She,  however,  persists  in  using  only  her 
own  words,  though  her  parents,  who  are  uneasy  about  her  pecu- 
liarity of  speech,  make  great  efforts  to  induce  her  to  use  proper 

More  may  be  read  concerning  this  language  in  the  account  of 
Dr.  Hun  (published  in  1868). 

^Ir.  Hale  mentions  three  other  cases,  information  regarding 
which  came  to  him.  The  inventors  in  the  first  instance  were  a 
boy  between  four  and  five  years  old,  said  to  have  been  "  unusually 
backward  in  his  speech,"  and  a  girl  a  little  younger,  the  chil- 
dren of  a  widower  and  a  widow  respectively,  who  married ;  and, 
according  to  the  report  of  an  intimate  friend  :  "  He  and  the  little 
girl  soon  became  inseparable  playmates,  and  formed  a  language 
of  their  own,  which  was  unintelligible  to  their  parents  and 
friends.  They  had  names  of  their  own  invention  for  all  the 
objects  about  them,  and  must  have  had  a  corresponding  supply  of 
verbs  and  other  parts  of  speech,  as  their  talk  was  fluent  and 
incessant."     This  was  in  Kingston,  Ontario,  Canada  (249.  16). 

The  second  case  is  that  of  two  young  children,  twins,  a  boy 
and  a  girl :  "  When  they  were  three  or  four  years  old  they  were 
accustomed,  as  their  elder  sister  informs  me,  to  talk  together  in  a 
language  which  no  one  else  understood.  .  .  .  The  twins  were 
wont  to  climb  into  their  father's  carriage  in  the  stable,  and  '  chat- 
ter away,'  as  my  informant  says,  for  hours  in  this  strange  lan- 
guage. Their  sister  remembers  that  it  sounded  as  though  the 
words  were  quite  short.  But  the  single  word  which  survives  in 
the  family  recollection  is  a  dissyllable,  the  word  for  milk,  which 
was  ciilly.  The  little  girl  accompanied  her  speech  with  gestures, 
but  the  boy  did  not.  As  they  grew  older,  they  gradually  gave  up 
their  peculiar  speech  "  (249.  17). 

266  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

The  third  case  cited  by  Mr.  Hale  is  that  of  two  little  boys  of 
Toronto,  Canada,  —  five  or  six  years  of  age,  one  being  about  a 
year  older  than  the  other,  who  attended  a  school  in  that  city : 
"  These  children  were  left  much  to  themselves,  and  had  a  lan- 
guage of  their  own,  in  which  they  always  conversed.  The  other 
children  in  the  school  used  to  listen  to  them  as  they  chattered 
together,  and  laugh  heartily  at  the  strange  speech  of  which  they 
could  not  understand  a  word.  The  boys  spoke  English  with  diffi- 
culty, and  very  imperfectly,  like  persons  struggling  to  express 
their  ideas  in  a  foreign  tongue.  In  speaking  it,  they  had  to  eke 
out  their  words  with  many  gestures  and  signs  to  make  themselves 
understood ;  but  in  talking  together  in  their  own  language,  they 
used  no  gestures  and  spoke  very  fluently.  She  remembers  that 
the  words  which  they  used  seemed  quite  short "  (249.  18). 

Mr.  Hale's  studies  of  these  comparatively  uninvestigated  forms 
of  human  speech  led  him  into  the  wider  field  of  comparative 
philology  and  linguistic  origins.  From  the  consideration  of  these 
data,  the  distinguished  ethnologist  came  to  regard  the  child  as  a 
factor  of  the  utmost  importance  in  the  development  of  dialects 
and  families  of  speech,  and  to  put  forward  in  definite  terms  a 
theory  of  the  origin  and  growth  of  linguistic  diversity  and  dia- 
lectic profusion,  to  the  idea  of  which  he  was  led  by  his  studies 
of  the  multitude  of  languages  within  the  comparatively  restricted 
area  of  Oregon  and  California  (249.  9).  Starting  with  the  lan- 
guage-faculty instinct  in  the  child,  says  Mr.  Hale :  "  It  was  as 
impossible  for  the  first  child  endowed  with  this  faculty  not  to 
speak  in  the  presence  of  a  companion  similarly  endowed,  as  it 
would  be  for  a  nightingale  or  a  thrush  not  to  carol  to  its  mate. 
The  same  faculty  creates  the  same  necessity  in  our  days,  and  its 
exercise  by  young  children,  when  accidentally  isolated  from  the 
teachings  and  influence  of  grown  companions,  will  readily  account 
for  the  existence  of  all  the  diversities  of  speech  on  our  globe  " 
(249.  47).  Approaching,  in  another  essay,  one  of  the  most  diffi- 
cult problems  in  comparative  philology,  he  observes :  "  There  is, 
therefore,  nothing  improbable  in  the  supposition  that  the  first 
Aryan  family  —  the  orphan  children,  perhaps,  of  some  Semitic 
or  Accadian  fugitives  from  Arabia  or  Mesopotamia  —  grew  up 
and  framed  their  new  language  on  the  southeastern  seaboard  of 
Persia."     Thus,  he  thinks,  is  the  Aryo-Semitic  problem  most  sat- 

The  Child  as  Linguist.  267 

isfactorily  solved  (467.  675).  In  a  second  paper  (250)  on  The 
Development  of  Language,  Mr,  Hale  restates  and  elaborates  his 
theory  with  a  wealth  of  illustration  and  argument,  and  it  has  since 
won  considerable  support  from  the  scientists  of  both  hemispheres. 
Professor  Komanes  devotes  not  a  few  pages  of  his  volume  on 
Mental  Evolution  in  Man,  to  the  presentation  of  Mr.  Hale's 
theory  and  of  the  facts  upon  which  it  is  based  (338.  138-144). 

Secret  Languages. 

That  the  use  of  secret  languages  and  the  invention  of  them  by 
children  is  widespread  and  prevalent  at  home,  at  school,  in  the 
playground,  in  the  street,  is  evident  from  the  exhaustive  series 
of  articles  in  which  Dr.  F.  S.  Krauss  (281)  of  Vienna  has  ti-eated 
of  "Secret  Languages."  Out  of  some  two  hundred  forms  and 
fashions  there  cited  a  very  large  proportion  indeed  belong  to  the 
period  of  childhood  and  youth  and  the  scenes  of  boyish  and  girl- 
ish activity.  We  have  languages  for  games,  for  secret  societies, 
for  best  friends,  for  school-fellows,  for  country  and  town,  for 
boys  and  girls,  etc.  Dr.  Oscar  Chrisman  (206)  has  quite  recently 
undertaken  to  investigate  the  nature  and  extent  of  use  of  these 
secret  languages  in  America,  with  gratifying  results.  A  study  of 
the  child  at  the  period  in  which  the  language-making  instinct  is 
most  active  cannot  be  without  interest  to  pedagogy,  and  it  would 
not  be  without  value  to  inquire  what  has  been  the  result  of  the 
universal  neglect  of  language-teaching  in  the  primary  and  lower 
grade  grammar  schools  —  whether  the  profusion  of  secret  lan- 
guages nms  parallel  with  this  diversion  of  the  child-mind  from 
one  of  its  most  healthful  and  requisite  employments,  or  whether 
it  has  not  to  some  extent  atrophied  the  linguistic  sense. 

The  far-reaching  ramifications  of  "  secret  languages "  are  evi- 
denced by  the  fact  that  a  language  called  "  Tut "  by  school-chil- 
dren of  Gonzales,  Texas,  is  almost  identical  in  its  alphabet  with 
the  "Guitar  Language,"  of  Bonyhad,  in  Hungary,  the  "Bob 
Language,"  of  Czemowitz,  in  Austria,  and  another  language  of 
the  same  sort  from  Berg.  The  travels  of  the  Texas  secret 
language  are  stated  by  Dr.  Chrisman  to  be  as  follows:  "This 
young  lady  .  .  .  learned  it  from  her  mother's  servant,  a  negro 
girl ;  this  girl  learned  it  from  a  negro  girl  who  got  it  at  a  female 

268  The  Child  m  Folk -Thought. 

negro  school  at  Austin,  Texas,  where  it  was  brought  by  a  negro 
girl  from  Galveston,  Texas,  who  learned  it  from  a  negro  girl  who 
had  come  from  Jamaica  "  (206.  305). 

Evidence  is  accumulating  to  show  that  these  secret  languages 
of  children  exist  in  all  parts  of  the  world,  and  it  would  be  a  use- 
ful and  instructive  labour  were  some  one  to  collect  all  available 
material  and  compose  an  exhaustive  scientific  monograph  on  the 

Interesting,  for  comparative  purposes,  are  the  secret  languages 
and  jargons  of  adults.  As  Paul  Sartori  (528)  has  recently  shown, 
the  use  of  special  or  secret  languages  by  various  individuals  and 
classes  in  the  communities  is  widespread  both  in  myth  and  real- 
ity. We  find  peculiar  dialects  spoken  by,  or  used  in  addressing, 
deities  and  evil  spirits ;  giants,  monsters ;  dwarfs,  elves,  fairies ; 
ghosts,  spirits;  witches,  wizards,  "medicine  men";  animals, birds, 
trees,  inanimate  objects.  We  meet  also  with  special  dialects  of 
secret  societies  (both  of  men  and  of  women) ;  sacerdotal  and 
priestly  tongues;  special  dialects  of  princes,  nobles,  courts; 
women's  languages,  etc. ;  besides  a  multitude  of  jargons,  dialects, 
languages  of  trades  and  professions,  of  peasants,  shepherds, 
soldiers,  merchants,  hunters,  and  the  divers  slangs  and  jargons 
of  the  vagabonds,  tramps,  thieves,  and  other  outcast  or  criminal 

Far-reaching  indeed  is  the  field  opened  by  the  consideration 
of  but  a  single  aspect  of  child-speech,  that  doll-language  which 
Joaquin  Miller  so  aptly  notes  :  — 

"  Yet  she  carried  a  doll,  as  she  toddled  alone, 
And  she  talked  to  that  doll  in  a  tongue  her  own." 


Both  the  golden  age  of  childhood  and  the  golden  age  of  love 
exercise  a  remarkable  influence  upon  language.  Mantegazza, 
discussing  "the  desire  to  merge  oneself  into  another,  to  abase 
oneself,  to  aggrandize  the  beloved,"  etc.,  observes:  "We  see  it 
in  the  use  of  diminutives  which  lovers  and  sometimes  friends 
use  towards  each  other,  and  which  mothers  use  to  their  children ; 
we  lessen  ourselves  thus  in  a  delicate  and  generous  manner  in 
order  that  we  may  be  embraced  and  absorbed  in  the  circle  of 

The  Child  as  Linguist.  269 

the  creature  we  love.  Nothing  is  more  easily  possessed  than 
a  small  object,  and  before  the  one  we  love  we  would  change  our- 
selves into  a  bird,  a  canary  —  into  any  minute  thing  that  we 
might  be  held  utterly  in  the  hands,  that  we  might  feel  our- 
selves pressed  on  all  sides  by  the  warm  and  loving  fingers. 
There  is  also  another  secret  reason  for  the  use  of  diminutives. 
Little  creatures  are  loved  tenderly,  and  tenderness  is  the  supreme 
sign  of  every  great  force  which  is  dissolved  and  consumes  itself. 
After  the  wild,  passionate,  impetuous  embrace  there  is  always 
the  tender  note,  and  then  diminutives,  whether  they  belong  to 
expression  or  to  language,  always  play  a  great  part "  (499.  137), 
The  fondness  of  boys  for  calling  each  other  by  the  diminutives 
of  their  surnames  belongs  here. 

In  some  languages,  such  as  the  Nipissing  dialect  of  Algonkian 
in  North  America,  the  Modem  Greek  or  Romaic,  Lowland  Scotch, 
and  Plattdeutsch,  the  very  frequent  employment  of  diminutives 
has  come  to  be  a  marked  characteristic  of  the  common  speech  of 
the  people.  The  love  for  diminutives  has,  in  some  cases,  led  to 
a  charm  of  expression  in  language  which  is  most  attractive ;  this 
is  seen  perhaps  at  its  best  in  Castilian,  and  some  of  the  Italian 
dialects  (202  and  219).  A  careful  study  of  the  influence  of  the 
child  upon  the  forms  of  language  has  yet  to  be  made. 


The  Child  as  Actoe,  and  Inventor. 

The  child  is  a  born  actor. 

The  world's  a  theatre,  the  earth  a  stage, 

Which  God  and  Nature  do  with  actors  fiU.  — Hey  wood. 

Man  is  an  imitative  creature,  and  the  foremost  leads  the  flock.  —  Schiller. 

Imitative  Games. 

In  her  article  on  Imitation  in  Children,  Miss  Haskell  notes  the 
predilection  of  children  for  impersonation  and  dramatic  expres- 
sion, giving  many  interesting  examples.  S.  D.  Warren,  in  a  paper 
read  before  the  American  Association  for  the  Advancement  of 
Science,  at  the  Brooklyn  Meeting,  1894  (Proc,  Vol.  xliii.,  p.  335), 
also  notes  these  activities  of  children,  mentioning,  among  other 
instances,  "  an  annual  celebration  of  the  surrender  of  Cornwallis 
at  Yorktown,"  "  playing  railroad,"  playing  at  pulling  hand  fire- 
engines,  as  the  representatives  of  two  rival  villages. 

The  mention  of  the  celebration  of  Cornwallis'  surrender  by 
children  brings  up  the  question  of  the  child  as  recorder.  As 
historian  and  chronicler,  the  child  appears  in  the  countless  games 
in  which  he  preserves  more  or  less  of  the  acts,  beliefs,  and  super- 
stitions of  our  ancestors.  Concerning  some  of  these,  Miss  Alice 
Gomme  says :  "  It  is  impossible  that  they  have  been  invented  by 
children  by  the  mere  effort  of  imagination,  and  there  is  ample 
evidence  that  they  have  but  carried  on  interchangeably  a  record 
of  events,  some  of  which  belong  to  the  earliest  days  of  the 
nation"  (242.11). 

As  Miss  Gomme  points  out,  many  of  the  games  of  English 
children  are  simply  primitive  dramas,  —  of  the  life  of  a  woman 
("  When  I  was  a  Young  Girl "),  of  courtship  and  marriage  ("  Here 


The  Child  as  Actor^  Inventor.  271 

comes  Tliree  Dukes  a-Riding,"  "  Poor  Mary  sits  a- Weeping  "),  of 
funerals  ("Jenny  Jones,"  "Green  Gravel"),  of  border  warfare 
("  We  are  the  Rovers  "),  etc.  Mr.  W.  W.  Newell  had  previously 
remarked  the  importance  of  the  dramatic  element  in  children's 
games,  citing  as  historical  plays  "  Miss  Jennia  Jones  "  (funeral), 
"  Down  she  comes  as  White  as  Milk,"  "  Green  Gravel,"  "  Uncle 
John,"  "Barbara  Allen,"  and  others  more  or  less  partaking  of 
this  character,  based  upon  historical  ballads,  of  some  of  which 
traces  only  are  now  preserved. 

By  means  of  carved  or  graven  images  in  wood  or  stone,  given 
to  children  as  playthings  or  as  targets  to  practise  skill  in  shooting 
or  striking  with  miniature  bow-and-arrow  or  spear,  an  early  ac- 
quaintance is  formed  with  many  animals.  The  imitation  of  ani- 
mals, their  habits  and  peculiarities,  often  forms  no  small  part  of 
the  dances  and  games  of  children  of  the  lower  races. 

The  Child  as  Actor. 

Wallaschek,  in  his  study  of  the  primitive  drama  and  pantomime 
(546.  214—229),  notes  the  presence  of  children  as  dancers  and  per- 
formers among  the  Andaman  Islanders,  the  Tagals  of  the  Philip- 
pines, the  Tahitians,  Fijis,  Polynesians  and  other  more  or  less 
primitive  races.  Of  Tibet  and  some  portions  of  China  ]Mr.  Rock- 
hill,  in  his  Diai~y  of  a  Journey  through  Mongolia  and  Tibet,  in  1891 
and  1892  (Washington,  D.  C,  1894),  informs  us  that  the  lads  in 
every  village  give  theatrical  performances,  the  companies  of 
young  actors  being  known  as  Hsiao  sheng  huei,  "young  men's 
amateur  theatrical  company  "  (p.  68). 

Among  the  aborigines  of  the  JS"ew  World  we  find  also  children 
as  actors  and  participants  in  the  ceremonies  and  ritual  perform- 
ances of  various  tribes.  In  certain  ceremonials  of  the  Sia,  as 
iVIrs.  Stevenson  informs  us,  young  children  take  part.  A  boy  of 
eight  was  allowed  to  hear  the  sacred  songs  on  one  occasion,  and 
to  witness  the  making  of  the  "  medicine-water,"  but  a  boy  of  four 
was  not  permitted  to  be  present ;  the  boy  also  took  part  in  the 
dance  (538.  79).  In  the  rain  ceremonial  of  the  "  Giant  Society," 
a  little  girl,  eight  years  old,  painted  the  fetiches  quite  as  dex- 
terously as  her  elders,  and  took  apparently  quite  as  much  inter- 
est in  the  proceedings.     In  the  rain  ceremonial  of  the  "Knife 

272  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

Society,"  boys  assist,  and  in  the  rain  ceremonial  of  the  Querranna, 
a  child  (boy)  with  wand  and  rattle  joins  in  the  celebration  of  the 
rites,  "  requiring  no  rousing  to  sing  and  bend  his  tiny  body  to  the 
time  of  the  rattle,  and  joining  in  the  calls  upon  the  cloud-people 
to  gather  to  water  the  earth,  with  as  much  enthusiasm  as  his 
elders."  When  children,  boys  or  girls,  are  about  ten  or  twelve 
years  of  age,  and  have,  as  the  Indians  say,  "  a  good  head,"  they 
are  initiated,  if  they  so  desire,  into  some  of  the  mysteries  of  the 
dances  of  the  Ka'tsuna,  in  charge  of  the  Querranna  Society  (538. 

Dr.  J.  W.  Fewkes,  in  his  detailed  article  on  the  Flute  Observ- 
ance of  the  Tusayan  Indians  of  Walpi,  an  interesting  study  of 
primitive  dramatization,  notes  the  part  played  by  children  in 
these  ceremonies.  The  principal  characters  are  the  "  Snake  Boy," 
the  "Snake  Girl,"  and  some  girl  carriers  of  the  sacred  corn, 
besides  lads  as  acolytes. 

The  story  of  the  child  as  an  actor  has  yet  to  be  written.  When 
the  ancient  Greeks  crowded  the  theatres  to  hear  and  see  the 
masterpieces  of  dramatic  and  histrionic  genius,  their  "women, 
slaves,  and  children  "  were  for  the  most  part  left  at  home,  though 
we  do  find  that  later  on  in  history,  front  seats  were  provided  for 
the  chief  Athenian  priestesses.  No  voices  of  children  were  heard 
in  chorus,  and  childhood  found  no  true  interpreter  upon  the  stage. 
In  France,  in  the  middle  of  the  seventeenth  century,  women 
appear  as  actors;  in  England  it  was  not  until  long  after  the 
death  of  her  greatest  dramatist  that  (in  1660)  women  could  fill  a 
rdle  upon  the  stage  without  serious  hindrance  or  molestation ;  in 
Japan,  even  now,  play-acting  is  not  looked  upon  as  a  respectable 
profession  for  women.  For  a  long  time  in  England  and  else- 
where, female  parts  were  taken  by  children  and  youths.  Here 
also  we  meet  with  companies  of  child-actors,  such  as  the  "  Boys  of 
the  Grammar  School  at  Westminster,"  "The  Children  of  Paul's," 
etc.  The  influence  which  produced  these  survives  and  flourishes 
to-day  in  the  fondness  of  high-school  pupils  and  university  stu- 
dents for  dramatic  performances  and  recitations,  and  the  number 
of  schools  of  gesture,  elocution,  and  the  like,  testifies  to  the  abid- 
ing interest  of  the  young  in  the  mimic  art.  This  is  also  evidenced 
by  the  number  of  child  actors  and  actresses  in  the  theatrical 
world,  and  the  remarkable  precocity  of  the  members  of  the  pro- 

The  Child  as  Aetor^  Inventor.  273 

fession  in  all  lands.  In  England,  the  pantomime  offers  a  special 
outlet  for  this  current  of  expression,  and  there  the  child  is  a  most 
important  factor  in  stage-life.  The  precocity  of  girls  in  these 
respects  is  noteworthy. 

The  Child  as  Inventor. 

Borrowing  his  figure  of  speech  from  the  environment  of  child- 
hood, C.  J.  Weber  has  said :  "  Die  Gesellschaft  ist  die  Grossmutter 
der  Menschheit  durch  ihre  Tochter,  die  Erjindungen,  —  Society  is 
the  grandmother  of  humanity  through  her  daughters,  the  inven- 
tions," and  the  familiar  proverb  —  Necessity  is  the  mother  of  in- 
vention—  springs  from  the  same  source.  Isaac  Disraeli  aptly 
says :  "  The  golden  hour  of  invention  must  terminate  like  other 
hours;  and  when  the  man  of  genius  returns  to  the  cares,  the 
duties,  the  vexations,  and  the  amusements  of  life,  his  companions 
behold  him  as  one  of  themselves,  —  the  creature  of  habits  and 
infirmities,"  and  not  a  few  of  the  "  golden  hours  of  invention " 
seem  to  belong  to  the  golden  age  of  childhood.  Even  in  these 
"  degenerate  "  days  the  child  appears  as  an  inventor.  A  contribu- 
tor- to  the  periodical  literature  of  the  day  remarks :  "  Children 
have  taken  out  a  number  of  patents.  The  youngest  inventor  on 
record  is  Donald  Murray  Murphy,  of  St.  John,  Canada,  who,  at 
the  age  of  six  years,  obtained  from  the  United  States  exclusive 
rights  in  a  sounding  toy.  Mabel  Howard,  of  Washington,  at 
eleven  years,  invented  an  ingenious  game  for  her  invalid  brother 
and  got  a  patent  for  it.  Albert  G.  Smith,  of  Eichwood,  Illinois, 
at  twelve  years  invented  and  patented  a  rowing  apparatus  "  (Cur- 
rent Lit.,  N.  Y.,  xiv.  1893,  p.  138). 

The  works  of  Newell  (313),  Bolton  (187),  Gomme  (243),  amply 
reveal  the  riot  of  childish  variation  and  invention  iu  games  and 
plays.  Mr.  Newell  observes :  "  It  would  be  strange  if  children 
who  exhibit  so  much  inventive  talent  [in  language]  did  not  con- 
trive new  games ;  and  we  find  accordingly  that  in  many  families 
a  great  part  of  the  amusements  of  the  children  are  of  their  own 
devising.  The  earliest  age  of  which  the  writer  has  authentic 
record  of  such  ingenuity  is  two  and  a  half  years  "  (313.  25).  And 
among  the  primitive  peoples  the  child  is  not  without  like  inven- 
tion ;  some,  iadeed,  of  the  games  our  children  play,  were  invented 

274  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

by  the  savage  young  ones,  whose  fathers  have  been  long  forgotten 
in  the  mist  of  prehistoric  ages  —  the  sports  of  their  children  alone 
surviving  as  memorials  of  their  existence. 

Theal  tells  us  that  the  Kaffir  children,  when  not  engaged  in 
active  exercise,  "amuse  themselves  by  moulding  clay  into  little 
images  of  cattle,  or  by  making  puzzles  with  strings.  Some  of 
them  are  skilful  in  forming  knots  with  thongs  and  pieces  of  wood, 
which  it  taxes  the  ingenuity  of  the  others  to  undo.  The  cleverest 
of  them  sometimes  practise  tricks  of  deception  with  grains  of 
maize  "  (543.  221).  The  distinguished  naturalist,  Mr.  A.  E.  Wal- 
lace, while  on  his  visit  to  the  Malay  Archipelago,  thought  to  show 
the  Dyak  boys  of  Borneo  something  new  in  the  way  of  the  "  cat's 
cradle,"  but  found  that  he  was  the  one  who  needed  to  learn,  for 
the  little  brown  aborigines  were  able  to  show  him  several  new 
tricks  (377.  25). 

Miklucho-Maclay  notes  that  among  the  Papuans  of  north- 
eastern New  Guinea,  while  the  women  showed  no  tendency  to 
ornament  pottery,  young  boys  "  found  pleasure  in  imprinting  with 
their  nails  and  a  pointed  stick  a  sort  of  ornamental  border  on 
some  of  the  pots  "  (42.  317). 

Paola  Lombroso,  daughter  of  Professor  Cesare  Lombroso,  the 
celebrated  criminologist,  in  her  recent  study  of  child  psychology, 
observes :  "  Games  (and  plays)  are  the  most  original  creation  of 
the  child,  who  has  been  able  to  create  them,  adapt  them  to  his 
needs,  making  of  them  a  sort  of  gymnastics  which  enables  him  to 
develop  himself  without  becoming  fatigued,  and  we,  with  the  aid 
of  memory,  can  hardly  now  lay  hold  of  that  feeling  of  infinite, 
intense  pleasure."  Moreover,  these  popular  traditional  plays  and 
games,  handed  down  from  one  generation  to  another  of  children, 
"  show  how  instinctive  are  these  forms  of  m.uscular  activity  and 
imitative  expression,  which  have  their  roots  in  a  true  physio- 
logical and  psychic  necessity,  being  a  species  of  tirocinium  for 
the  experience  of  childhood  "  (301.  136). 

The  magnum  opus,  perhaps,  of  the  child  as  inventor,  is  the  lyre, 
the  discovery  of  which,  classical  mythology  attributes  to  the  infant 
Mercury  or  Hermes.  Four  hours  after  his  birth  the  baby  god  is 
said  to  have  found  the  shell  of  a  tortoise,  through  the  opposite 
edges  of  which  he  bored  holes,  and,  inserting  into  these  cords  of 
linen,  made  the  first  stringed   instrument.     The   English   poet, 

The  Child  as  Actor^  Inventor.  275 

Anbrey  de  Vere,  singing  of  an  Athenian  girl,  thns  refers  to  the 
quaint  inyth:  — 

"  She  loves  to  pace  the  wild  sea-shore  — 
Or  drop  her  wandering  fingers  o'er 
The  bosom  of  some  chorded  shell : 
Her  touch  will  make  it  speak  as  well 
As  infant  Hermes  made 
That  tortoise  in  its  own  despite 
Thenceforth  in  Heaven  a  shape  star-bri^t** 


The  Child  as  Poet,  Musician,  etc. 

Poeta  nascitur,  non  fit.  — Latin  Proverb. 

As  yet  a  child,  nor  yet  a  fool  to  fame, 

I  lisp'd  in  numbers,  for  the  numbers  came.  —  Pope. 

The  Child  and  Music. 

"  Music,"  said  quaint  old  Thomas  Fuller,  "  is  nothing  else  but 
wild  sounds  civilized  into  time  and  tune,"  and  Wallaschek,  in  his 
recent  volume  on  Primitive  Music,  has  shown  how  every  nation 
under  heaven,  even  the  most  savage  and  barbarous  of  peoples, 
have  had  a  share  in  the  work  of  civilization.  Music  has  been 
called  "  the  language  of  the  gods,"  "  the  universal  speech  of  man- 
kind," and,  early  in  the  golden  age  of  childhood,  the  heaven  of 
infancy,  is  man  made  captive  by  "music's  golden  tongue."  As 
Wallaschek  has  said  of  the  race,  Tracy  says  of  the  individual, 
"  no  healthy,  normal  child  is  entirely  lacking  in  musical  '  ear.' " 
The  children  of  primitive  races  enjoy  music,  as  well  as  their  fel- 
lows in  civilized  communities.  The  lullaby,  that  quod  semper 
ubique  et  ab  omnibus  of  vocal  art,  early  engages  and  entrances  the 
infantile  ear,  and  from  the  musical  demonstrations  of  his  elders, 
the  child  is  not  always  or  everywhere  excluded.  Indeed,  the 
infant  is  often  ushered  into  the  world  amid  the  din  and  clamour 
of  music  and  song  which  serve  to  drown  the  mother's  cries  of 
pain,  or  to  express  the  joy  of  the  family  or  the  community  at 
the  successful  arrival  of  the  little  stranger. 

Education  in  music  and  the  dance  begins  very  early  with  many 
peoples.  At  the  school  of  midwifery  at  Abu-Zabel  in  Egypt, 
according  to  Clot-Bey,  in  cases  of  difiicult  childbirth,  a  child  is 
made  to  hop  and  dance  about  between  the  legs  of  the  mother  in 
order  to  induce  the  foetus  to  imitate  it  (125.  II.  159). 


The  Child  as  Poet,  Musician.  Ill 

As  understudies  and  assistants  to  shamans,  "medicine-men," 
and  "-doctors,"  children  among  many  primitive  peoples  soon 
become  acquainted  with  dance  and  song. 

In  Ashanti,  boy  musicians,  singers,  and  dancers  figure  in  the 
processions  of  welcome  of  the  chiefs  and  kings,  and  young  girls 
are  engaged  in  the  service  of  the  fetiches  (438.  258).  At  a  ftmeral 
dance  of  the  Latuka,  an  African  tribe,  "  the  women  remained  out- 
side the  row  of  dancers  dancing  a  slow,  stupid  step,  and  screaming 
a  wild  and  most  inharmonious  chant,  whilst  boys  and  girls  in 
another  row  beat  time  with  their  feet."  Burchell,  while  en  route 
for  the  Kaffir  country,  found  among  certain  tribes  that  "  in  the 
evening  a  whole  army  of  boys  would  come  to  his  hut  and  listen 
with  manifest  pleasure  to  the  tones  of  his  violin,  and  would  repeat 
the  melodies  he  played  with  surprising  accuracy  "  (546.  3,  199). 

The  meke-meke,  a  dance  of  the  Fiji  Islanders,  "  is  performed  by 
boys  and  girls  for  whom  an  old  miisician  plays  " ;  at  Tahiti  the 
children  "  are  early  taught  the  '  ubus,'  songs  referring  to  the 
legends  or  achievements  of  the  gods,"  and  "Europeans  have  at 
times  found  pleasure  in  the  pretty,  plaintive  songs  of  the  children 
as  they  sit  in  groups  on  the  sea-shore "  (546.  35,  180,  208).  In 
some  of  the  Polynesian  Islands,  young  girls  are  "  brought  up  to 
dance  the  timorodea,  a  most  lascivious  dance,  and  to  accompany 
it  with  obscene  songs"  (100.  62).  At  Tongatabu,  according  to 
Labillardiere,  a  young  girl  "sang  a  song,  the  simple  theme  of 
which  she  repeated  for  half-an-hour "  (546.  31).  Wallaschek 
calls  attention  to  the  importance  of  the  child  in  song  in  the  fol- 
lowing words  (546.  75) :  — 

"  In  some  places  the  children,  separated  from  the  adults,  sing 
choruses  among  themselves,  and  under  certain  circiimstances  they 
are  the  chief  support  of  the  practice  of  singing.  On  Hawaii, 
Ellis  found  boys  and  girls  singing  in  chorus,  with  an  accompani- 
ment of  seven  drums,  a  song  in  honour  of  a  quondam  celebrated 
chief.  Even  during  supper  with  the  Governor,  table-music  was 
performed  by  a  juvenile  bard  of  some  twelve  or  fourteen  sum- 
mers, who  sang  a  monotonous  song  to  the  accompaniment  of  a 
small  drum.  ...  In  Fiji  a  man  of  position  deems  it  beneath 
him  to  sing,  and  he  leaves  it  to  his  wife  and  children,  so  that 
women  sing  with  women  only,  and  children  with  children." 

Speaking  of  the  natives  of  Australia,  with  whom  he  came  into 

278  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

contact,  Beckler  says  "the  octaves  of  the  women  and  children 
at  the  performance  he  attended  were  perfectly  in  tune,  as  one 
rarely  hears  in  a  modern  opera  chorus,  they  were  in  exact  accord." 
In  the  Kuri  dance,  witnessed  by  Angas,  a  number  of  boys  take 
part  (546.  37,  223). 

In  New  Guinea  "  the  Tongala-up,  a  stick  with  a  string  whirled 
in  the  air,  is  played  by  women  and  children."  Among  the  Tagals 
of  the  Philippines,  Volliner  found  (with  perhaps  a  little  Spanish 
influence)  "  a  chorus  was  performed  in  a  truly  charming  manner  by 
twelve  young  girls  formed  in  a  circle,  one  girl  standing  in  the  middle 
to  direct."  In  the  Andaman  Islands,  where  the  men  only,  as  a 
rule,  sing,  "  the  boys  were  far  the  best  performers  "  (546.  24, 27,  75). 

Among  the  Apache  Indians  of  Arizona  and  Mexico,  "  old  matrons 
and  small  children  dance  until  no  longer  able  to  stand,  and  stop 
for  very  exhaustion  "  (546.  46). 

The  Child  as  Poet. 

Victor  Hugo,  in  one  of  his  rhapsodies,  exclaims :  "  The  most 
sublime  psalm  that  can  be  heard  on  this  earth  is  the  lisping  of  a 
htiman  soul  from  the  lips  of  childhood,"  and  the  rhythm  within 
whose  circle  of  influence  the  infant  early  finds  himself,  often 
leads  him  precociously  into  the  realm  of  song.  Emerson  has  said, 
"Every  word  was  once  a  poem,"  and  Andrew  Lang,  in  his  face- 
tious Ballade  of  Primitive  Man,  credits  our  Aryan  ancestors  with 
speaking  not  in  prose,  but  "  in  a  strain  that  would  scan."  In  the 
statement  of  the  philosopher  there  is  a  good  nugget  of  truth, 
and  just  a  few  grains  of  it  in  the  words  of  the  wit. 

The  analogy  between  the  place  and  effect  of  rhythm,  music, 
and  poetry  in  the  life  of  the  child  and  in  the  life  of  the  savage 
has  been  frequently  noted.  In  his  recent  study  of  Rhythm  (405  a). 
Dr.  Bolton  has  touched  up  some  aspects  of  the  subject.  With  chil- 
dren "  the  habit  of  rhyming  is  almost  instinctive  "  and  universal. 
Almost  every  one  can  remember  some  little  sing-song  or  nonsense- 
verse  of  his  own  invention,  some  rhyming  pun,  or  rhythmic 
adaptation.  The  enormous  range  of  variation  in  the  wording  of 
counting-out  rhymes,  game-songs,  and  play-verses,  is  evidence 
enough  of  the  fertility  of  invention  of  child-poets  and  child- 
poetesses.  Of  the  familiar  counting-out  formula  Eeny,  meeny, 
miny,  mo,  the  variants  are  simply  legion. 

The  Child  as  Poet^  Mimeian.  279 

The  well-known  lines  of  Pope :  — 

"  As  yet  a  child,  nor  yet  a  fool  to  fame, 
I  lispM  in  numbers,  for  the  numbers  came," 

receive  abundant  illustration  from  the  lives  of  the  great  geniuses 
of  song. 

Among  primitive  peoples,  if  anywhere,  poeta  nascitur,  non  Jit. 
In  her  article  on  Indian  Songs,  Miss  Alice  C.  Fletcher  says : 
"Children  make  songs  for  themselves,  which  are  occasionally 
handed  down  to  other  generations.  These  juvenile  efforts  some- 
times haimt  the  memory  in  maturer  years.  An  exemplary  old 
man  once  sang  to  me  a  composition  of  his  childhood,  wherein 
he  had  exalted  the  pleasures  of  disobedience ;  but  he  took  par- 
ticular care  that  his  children  should  not  hear  this  performance. 
Young  men  sing  in  guessing-games,  as  they  gambol  with  their 
companions,  tossing  from  hand  to  hand  a  minute  ball  of  buffalo 
hair  or  a  small  pebble,  moving  their  arms  to  the  rhythm  of  the 
music."  This,  and  the  following  statement  made  of  the  Omaha 
Indians,  will  hold  for  not  a  few  other  savage  and  barbarous 
tribes:  "Children  compose  ditties  for  their  games,  and  young 
men  add  music  to  give  zest  to  their  sports  "  (445). 

Dr.  F.  Boas  says  of  the  Eskimo  of  Bafifin  Land  (402.  572) : 
"  Children  tell  one  another  fables  and  sing  short  songs,  especially 
comic  and  satirical  ones."  The  heroes  of  the  Basque  legend  of 
Aquelarre  are  thus  described  by  Miss  Monteiro  (505.  22)  :  — 

"  Izar  and  Lanoa  were  two  orphan  children ;  the  first  was  seven 
years  of  age,  and  the  latter  nine.  These  poor  children,  true 
wandering  bards,  frequented  the  mountains,  earning  a  livelihood 
by  singing  ballads  and  national  airs  in  sweet,  infantile  voices,  in 
return  for  a  bed  of  straw  and  a  cupful  of  meal.  Throughout  the 
district  these  children  were  known  and  loved  on  account  of  their 
sad  state,  as  well  as  for  their  graceful  forms  and  winning  ways." 

Mr.  Chatelain,  in  his  recent  work  on  African  folk-tales,  says 
of  the  natives  of  Angola:  "No  Angola  child  finds  difficulty  at 
any  time  in  producing  extemporaneous  song." 

Dr.  Gatschet,  in  his  study  of  the  Klamath  Indians,  gives  exam- 
ples of  many  songs  composed  and  sung  by  young  people,  espe- 
cially girls ;  and  many  other  Indian  tribes,  Algonkian,  Iroquois, 
etc.,  possess  such  as  well.      When  Darwin  reached  Tahiti,  his 

280  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

arrival  was  "  sung  by  a  young  girl  in  four  improvised  strophes, 
■which  her  fellow-maidens  accompanied  in  a  pretty  chorus  " ;  and 
among  the  song-loving  people  of  the  islands  of  the  South  Sea, 
the  poetic  talent  develops  quite  early  in  both  sexes.  Among 
the  aborigines  of  Peake  River,  in  Australia,  when  a  youth  —  at 
puberty  —  has  undergone  the  ceremony  of  tattooing,  and,  his 
wounds  having  healed,  is  about  to  return  to  his  fellows,  "  a  young 
girl  selected  for  the  purpose,  sings  in  her  own  way  a  song  which 
she  has  composed,  and,  amid  dancing,  merriment,  and  feasting, 
the  youth  is  welcomed  back  to  his  family  and  his  kin  "  (326.  II. 
241).  Throughout  the  Orient  woman  is  a  dancer  and  a  singer. 
India  has  her  bayaderes  and  nautch-girls,  whose  dancing  and 
singing  talents  are  world-known. 

The  Gypsies,  too,  that  wander-folk  of  the  world,  are  famed 
for  their  love-songs  and  fortune-telling  rhymes,  which  the  youth 
and  girlhood  among  them  so  often  know  how  to  make  and  use. 
Crawford,  who  has  translated  the  Kalevala,  the  great  epic  of  the 
Finns,  tells  us,  "The  natural  speech  of  this  people  is  poetry. 
The  young  men  and  maidens,  the  old  men  and  matrons,  in  their 
interchange  of  ideas  unwittingly  fall  into  verse  "  (423.  I.  xxvi.). 
Among  the  young  herdsmen  and  shepherdesses  of  the  pastoral 
peoples  of  Europe  and  Asia,  the  same  precocity  of  song  prevails. 
With  songs  of  youth  and  maiden,  the  hills  and  valleys  of  Greece 
and  Italy  resound  as  of  old.  In  his  essay  on  the  Popular  Songs 
of  Tuscany,  Mr.  J.  A.  Symonds  observes  (540.  600,  602)  :  "  Signor 
Tigri  records  by  name  a  little  girl  called  Cherubina,  who  made 
Rispetti  by  the  dozen,  as  she  watched  her  sheep  upon  the  hills." 
When  Signor  Tigri  asked  her  to  dictate  to  him  some  of  her  songs, 
she  replied :  "  Oh  Signore  !  ne  dico  tanti  quando  li  canto !  .  .  .  ma 
ora  .  .  .  bisognerebbe  averli  tutti  in  visione ;  se  no,  proprio  non 
vengono,  —  Oh  Sir !  I  say  so  many,  when  I  sing  .  .  .  but  now  .  .  . 
one  must  have  them  all  before  one's  mind  ...  if  not,  they  do  not 
come  properly."  World-applicable  as  the  boy  grows  out  of  child- 
hood—  with  some  little  change  of  season  with  the  varying  clime 
—  are  the  words  of  Tennyson :  — 

"  In  the  spring  a  young  man's  fancy  lightly  turns  to  thoughts  of  love," 

and  everywhere,  if  poetry  and  song  be  not  indeed  the  very  off- 
spring of  love,  they  are  at  least  twin-born  with  it. 

The  Child  as  Poet,  Musician.  281 

Lombroso,  in  his  discussion  of  the  man  of  genius,  gives  many 
examples  of  precocious  poetical  and  musical  talent :  Dante  (who 
at  nine  years  of  age  wrote  sonnets),  Tasso  (wrote  at  ten  years  of 
age),  Wieland  (who  wrote  an  epic  at  16),  Lope  de  Vega  (who  wrote 
verses  at  12),  Calderon  (at  13),  Metastasio  (who  composed  at  10), 
Handel  (who  wrote  a  mass  at  13,  and  was  director  of  opera  at  19), 
Eichhorn,  ^Vlozart,  and  Eibler  (all  three  of  whom  gave  concerts  at 
6),  Beethoven  (who  wrote  sonatas  at  13),  Weber  (who  wrote  his 
first  opera  at  14),  Chenibini  (who  wrote  a  mass  at  15),  etc. 
(300. 15). 

Among  English  poets  whose  precocity  was  marked,  we  find  the 
most  noteworthy  to  be  Eobert  Browning,  whose  first  poetic  effu- 
sion is  ascribed  to  his  fourth  year.  It  is  now  known,  however, 
that  poetry  is  much  more  common  among  children  than  was  at 
first  supposed,  and  early  compositions  are  not  to  be  expected 
from  geniuses  alone,  but  often  from  the  scions  of  the  ruder 

In  her  interesting  study  of  individual  psychology.  Dr.  Caroline 
Miles  informs  us  that  out  of  ninety-seven  answers  to  the  question, 
"  Did  you  express  yourself  in  any  art-form  before  eighteen  years 
of  age  ? "  fourteen  stated  that  the  person  replying  used  verses 
alone,  fourteen  used  stories  and  poetry,  three  used  poetry  and 
drawing  or  painting,  two  used  poetry  and  painting.  Dr.  Miles 
notes  that  "those  who  replied  'no,'  seemed  to  take  pride  in  the 
fact  that  they  had  been  guilty  of  no  such  youthful  folly."  This 
is  in  line  with  the  belief  parents  sometimes  express  that  the  son 
or  daughter  who  poetizes  early  is  "  loony."  Some  who  were  not 
ashamed  of  these  child-expressions  volunteered  information  con- 
cerning them,  and  we  learn:  "Most  interesting  was  one  who 
wrote  a  tragedy  at  ten,  which  was  acted  on  a  little  stage  for  the 
benefit  of  her  friends ;  from  ten  to  thirteen,  an  epic ;  at  thirteen, 
sentimental  and  religious  poems  "  (310.  552,  553). 

Dr.  H.  H.  Donaldson,  in  his  essay  on  the  Education  of  the 
Nervous  System,  cites  the  fact  that  of  the  musicians  whose  biog- 
raphies were  examined  by  Sully,  95%  gave  promise  before  twenty 
years  of  age,  and  100%  produced  some  work  before  reaching 
thirty;  of  the  poets,  75%  showed  promise  before  twenty,  and 
92%  produced  before  they  were  thirty  years  of  age  (216.  118). 
Precocity  and  genius  seem  to  go  together. 


The  Child  as  Teacher  and  Wiseacre. 

The  child  is  father  of  the  man. —  Wordsworth. 

And  wiser  than  the  gray  recluse 
This  child  of  thine. —  Whittier. 

And  still  to  Childhood's  sweet  appeal 

The  heart  of  genius  turns, 
And  more  than  all  the  sages  teach 

From  lisping  voices  learns.  —  Whittier. 

Wisdom  of  Childhood. 

In  his  beautiful  verses  —  forming  part  of  one  of  the  best  child- 
poems  in  our  language  — 

"  And  still  to  childhood's  sweet  appeal 
The  heart  of  genius  turns, 
And  more  than  all  the  sages  teach 
From  lisping  voices  learns,"  — 

Whittier  has  expressed  that  instinctive  faith  in  the  wisdom  of 
childhood  that  seems  perennial  and  pan-ethnic.  Browning,  in 
Pippa^s  Song,  has  sounded  even  a  deeper  note :  — 

"  Overhead  the  tree-tops  meet, 
Flowers  and  grass  spring  'neath  one's  feet ; 
There  was  nought  above  me,  nought  below, 
My  childhood  had  not  learned  to  know : 
For,  what  are  the  voices  of  birds 
—  Aye,  and  of  beasts,  —  but  words,  our  words, 
Only  so  much  more  sweet  ? 
The  knowledge  of  that  with  my  life  begun. 
But  I  had  so  near  made  out  the  sun, 
And  counted  your  stars,  the  seven  and  one, 

The  Wisdom  of  Childhood.  283 

Like  the  fingers  of  my  hand : 

Nay,  I  could  all  but  understand 

Wherefore  through  heaven  the  white  moon  ranges ; 

And  just  when  out  of  her  soft  fifty  changes 

No  unfamiliar  face  might  overlook  me  — 

Suddenly  God  took  me." 

The  power  and  wisdom  of  the  child  are  qnaintly  and  nsuvely 
brought  out  in  the  legends  and  folk-lore  of  the  various  races  of 
men,  not  alone  of  the  present  day,  but  of  all  eras  of  the  world's 
history.  As  an  illustration  of  the  truth  contained  in  the  words 
of  a  great  child-lover,  "  A  little  child  shall  lead  them,"  and  their 
echo  in  those  of  the  Quaker  poet,  — 

"  God  hath  his  smaU  interpreters ; 
The  child  must  teach  the  man," 

nothing  could  be  more  artless  and  natural  than  the  following 
legend  of  the  Penobscot  Indians  of  IVIaine,  recorded  by  Mr. 
Leland,  which  tells  of  the  origin  of  the  "crowing  of  babies" 
(488.  121) :  — 

When  Glooskap,  the  culture-hero  of  these  Indians,  had  con- 
quered all  his  enemies,  giants,  sorcerers,  magicians,  evil  spirits 
and  ghosts,  witches,  devils,  goblins,  cannibals,  et  id  genus  omne, 
pride  rose  within  him,  and  he  said  to  a  certain  woman,  that  now 
his  work  was  done,  for  he  had  conquered  all.  But  she  told  him 
that  he  was  mistaken  ;  there  yet  remained  "  one  whom  no  one  has 
ever  yet  conquered  or  got  the  better  of  in  any  way,  and  who  will 
remain  unconquered  to  the  end  of  time."  This  was  Wasis,  "  the 
baby,"  who  was  sitting  contentedly  on  the  floor  of  the  wigwam 
chewing  a  piece  of  maple-sugar.  The  great  Glooskap,  so  the 
story  runs,  "  had  never  married  or  had  a  child ;  he  knew  nought 
of  the  way  of  managing  children "  —  yet  he  thought  he  knew  all 
about  it.  So  he  smiled  graciously  at  baby,  and,  "  in  a  voice  like 
that  of  a  summer  bird,"  bade  him  come  to  him.  But  baby  sat 
still  and  went  on  sucking  his  sugar.  Then  Glooskap  got  angry, 
and  in  a  terrible  voice,  ordered  baby  to  crawl  to  him  at  once. 
But  baby  merely  cried  out  and  yelled,  stirring  not.  Then 
Glooskap  tried  his  last  resort,  magic,  "using  his  most  awful 
spells,  and  singing  the  songs  which  raise  the  dead  and  scare  the 
devils."     Still  baby  only  smiled,  and  never  budged  an  inch.     At 

284  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

last  the  great  Glooskap  could  do  no  more ;  he  gave  up  the  attempt 
in  despair,  whereupon  "  baby,  sitting  on  the  floor  in  the  sunshine, 
went  ^goo!  goo!'  and  crowed  lustily."  And  to  this  day,  the 
Indians,  when  they  hear  "  a  babe  well-contented  going '  goo !  goo ! ' 
and  crowing,  and  no  one  can  tell  why,"  know  that  it  is  because 
he  "  remembers  the  time  when  he  overcame  the  great  Master,  who 
had  conquered  all  things.  For  of  all  beings  that  have  been  since 
the  beginning,  baby  is  alone  the  invincible  one." 

Manabozho,  the  culture-hero  of  the  Chippeways  and  other  Algon- 
kian  tribes  of  the  Great  Lakes,  and  probably  identical  with  his 
eastern  analogue,  Gluskap,  was,  like  the  latter,  discomfited  by  a 
child.     This  is  the  legend :  — 

"  One  day  Manabozho  appeared  upon  the  earth  in  an  ill-humour. 
Walking  along,  he  espied  a  little  child  sitting  in  the  sun,  curled 
up  with  his  toe  in  his  mouth.  Somewhat  surprised  at  this,  and 
being  of  a  dauntless  and  boastful  nature,  he  set  himself  down 
beside  the  child;  and,  picking  up  his  own  toe,  he  essayed  to 
place  it  in  his  mouth  after  the  manner  of  the  child.  He  could 
not  do  it.  In  spite  of  all  twisting  and  turning,  his  toe  could  not 
be  brought  to  reach  his  mouth.  As  he  was  getting  up  in  great 
discomfiture  to  get  away,  he  heard  a  laugh  behind  him,  and  did 
no  more  boasting  that  day,  for  he  had  been  outwitted  by  a  little 

This  characteristic  attitude  of  the  child  has  also  been  noted 
by  the  folk-historians  of  India ;  for  when,  after  the  death  of 
Brahma,  the  waters  have  covered  all  the  worlds,  "Vishnu  [the 
'  Preserver,'  in  the  Hindoo  Trinity]  sits,  in  the  shape  of  a  tiny 
infant,  on  a  leaf  of  the  pipala  (fig-tree),  and  floats  on  the  sea  of 
milk,  sucking  the  toe  of  his  right  foot "  (440.  366),  and,  as  Mrs. 
Emerson  points  out,  "  the  feat  that  Manabozho  sought  in  vain  to 
perform  is  accomplished  by  the  more  flexible  and  lithe  Hindoo 
god,  Narayana  "  (440.  367). 

In  another  Micmac  legend,  given  by  Leland,  Gluskap  appears 
somewhat  more  to  advantage.  Of  the  Turtle  [Mikchich],  the 
''  Uncle  "  of  Gluskap,  for  whom  the  latter  had  obtained  a  wife, 
we  read  (488.  57) :  — 

"  And  Turtle  lived  happily  with  his  wife,  and  she  had  a  babe. 
Now  it  happened  in  after-days  that  Glooskap  came  to  see  his 
uncle,  and  the  child  cried.      'Dost  thou  know  what  he  says?' 

The  Wisdom  of  Childhood.  285 

exclaimed  the  Master.  'Truly,  not  I,'  answered  Mikchich, 
'unless  it  be  the  language  of  the  Mu-se-gisk  (spirits  of  the 
air),  which  no  man  knoweth.'  '  Well,'  replied  Glooskap,  '  he  is 
talking  of  eggs,  for  he  says,  *  Hooicdh  !  hoowahl'  which,  methinks, 
is  much  the  same  as  'waw-vmn,  icaio-wun.'  And  this  in  Passa- 
maquoddy  meajis  'egg.'  'But  where  are  there  any?'  asked 
Mikchich.  Then  Glooskap  bade  him  seek  in  the  sand,  and  he 
found  many,  and  admired  and  marvelled  over  them  greatly ;  and 
in  memory  of  this,  and  to  glorify  the  jest  of  Glooskap,  the  turtle 
layeth  eggs  even  to  this  day." 

In  Mr.  Leland's  collection,  as  in  the  lat€r  volume  of  Dr.  Rand, 
there  are  many  other  delicate  touches  of  childhood  that  show  that 
these  aborigines  have  a  large  measure  of  that  love  for  children 
which  is  present  with  all  races  of  mankind. 

In  the  legends  of  the  saints  and  heroes  of  the  Christian  Church 
we  meet  with  numberless  instances  of  the  wisdom  and  instruction 
that  came  to  them  from  the  mouths  of  little  children. 

Among  the  stories  in  the  life  of  St.  Augustine  is  the  following : 
"While  St.  Augustine  was  composing  his  book  On  the  Trinity, 
and  was  at  Civita  Vecchia,  he  saw  a  little  child  making  a  hole 
in  the  seashore,  and  asked  him  what  he  was  doing.  The  child 
replied:  'I  am  making  a  hole  to  contain  the  water  of  the  sea.' 
The  doctor  smiled,  telling  the  child  it  would  not  be  possible  to  do 
so ;  but  the  child  made  answer :  '  Xot  so,  Augustine.  It  would  be 
far  easier  to  drain  off  the  waters  of  the  great  deep  than  for  the 
finite  to  grasp  the  Infinite';  and  so  he  vanished.  Augustine 
then  knew  that  the  child  was  an  angel  of  God,  sent  to  warn  him, 
and  he  diligently  set  to  work  to  revise  what  he  had  written" 
(191.  355). 

The  best  of  mankind  can  still  sit  at  the  feet  of  childhood  and 
learn  of  its  wisdom.     But  of  many  a  one  must  it  be  said :  — 

"  He  hath  grown  so  foolish- wise 
He  cannot  see  with  childhood's  eyes  ; 
He  hath  forgot  that  purity 
And  lowliness  which  are  the  key 
Of  Nature's  mysteries." 


The  Child  as  Judge. 

So,  Holy  Writ  in  Babes  hath  judgment  shown, 
Where  Judges  have  been  babes.  —  Shakespeare. 

O  wise  young  judge  1  —  Shakespeare. 

The  Child  as  Judge. 

Shakespeare  in  AlVs  Well  that  Ends  Well,  makes  Helen  say 
to  the  King:  — 

"  He  that  of  greatest  works  is  finisher, 
Oft  does  them  by  the  weakest  minister  : 
So,  Holy  Writ  in  babes  hath  judgment  shown, 
When  judges  have  been  babes." 

And  in  the  history  of  the  human  race,  appeal  has  often  been  made 
to  the  innocence  and  imputed  discernment  of  the  child. 

As  one  of  the  glories  of  God,  David  sang  in  Israel  of  old: 
"  Out  of  the  mouths  of  babes  and  sucklings  hast  thou  prdained 
strength,  because  of  thine  enemies,  that  thou  mightest  still  the 
enemy  and  the  avenger."  And  the  disciple  Matthew  reiterates 
the  thought:  "Thou  hast  hid  these  things  from  the  wise  and 
prudent,  and  hast  revealed  them  unto  babes  " ;  and,  again :  "  Out 
of  the  mouths  of  babes  and  sucklings  hast  thou  perfected  praise." 


The  stories  told  of  Solomon  —  the  judgments  of  the  wise  Hebrew 
monarch,  when  a  child,  were  as  remarkable  as  those  which  he 
made  after  attaining  man's  estate  —  have  their  counterparts  in 
other  lands.     One  of  the  most  celebrated  decisions  was  rendered 


The  Child  as  Judge.  287 

by  Solomon  when  he  was  but  thirteen  years  of  age.  Weil  gives 
the  stoiy  as  follows  (547. 192) :  — 

"The  accuser  had  sold  some  property  to  the  other,  who,  in 
clearing  out  a  cellar,  had  found  a  treasure.  He  now  demanded 
that  the  accused  should  give  up  the  treasure,  since  he  had  bought 
the  property  without  it;  while  the  other  maintained  that  the 
accuser  possessed  no  right  to  the  treasure,  since  he  had  known 
nothing  of  it,  and  had  sold  the  property  with  all  that  it  con- 
tained. After  long  meditation,  David  adjudged  that  the  treasure 
should  be  divided  between  them.  But  Solomon  inquired  of  the 
accuser  whether  he  had  a  son,  and,  when  he  replied  that  he  had  a 
son,  he  inquired  of  the  other  if  he  had  a  daughter ;  and  he  also 
answering  in  the  affirmative,  Solomon  said :  '  If  you  will  adjust 
your  strife  so  as  not  to  do  injustice  one  to  the  other,  unite  your 
children  in  marriage,  and  give  them  this  treasure  as  their  dowry.' " 

In  many  other  difficult  cases,  David,  after  the  loss  of  the  tube 
which,  according  to  legend,  the  angel  Gabriel  brought  him,  was 
aided  in  judgment  by  the  wisdom  and  far-sightedness  of  his 
young  son.  A  decision  similar  to  that  of  Solomon  is  attributed 
to  Buddha,  when  a  child,  and  to  Christ. 


Miillenhoff  records  two  cases  of  child-judgments  in  his  collec- 
tion of  the  folk-lore  of  Schleswig-Holstein.  The  first  is  as  fol- 
lows: "A  branch  of  the  river  Widau,  near  Tondem,  is  named 
Renzau,  from  the  little  village  Eenz  in  the  parish  of  Burkall. 
Where  the  banks  are  pretty  high  and  steep,  a  man  fell  into  the 
water  once  upon  a  time,  and  would  have  been  drowned  had  not  a 
certain  person,  hearing  his  cries,  hastened  to  the  river,  and,  hold- 
ing out  a  pole,  enabled  the  drowning  man  to  help  himself  out. 
In  doing  so,  however,  he  put  out  an  eye.  The  rescued  man 
appeared  at  the  next  thing  (court),  entered  a  complaint  against 
the  other,  and  demanded  compensation  for  his  lost  eye.  The 
judges,  not  knowing  what  to  make  of  the  case,  put  it  off  till  the 
next  thing,  in  order  to  meditate  upon  it  in  the  meantime.  But 
the  third  thing  came,  and  the  district-judge  had  not  made  up  his 
mind  about  it.  Out  of  humour,  he  mounted  his  horse  and  rode 
slowly  and  thoughtfully  in  the  direction  of  Tondem,  where  the 

288  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

thing  was  then  held.  He  reached  Eohrkarrberg,  and,  opposite 
the  house  which  is  still  standing  there,  lay  a  stone  heap,  upon 
which  sat  three  herd-boys,  apparently  busy  with  something  of 
importance.  'What  are  you  doing 'there,  children?'  asked  the 
judge.  '  We  are  playing  thing '  (court),  was  the  answer.  '  What 
is  the  matter  before  the  court  ? '  continued  the  judge.  '  We  are 
trying  the  case  of  the  man  who  fell  into  the  Renzau,'  they 
answered,  and  the  judge  held  his  horse  to  await  the  verdict. 
The  boys  did  not  know  him,  for  he  was  well  hidden  in  his  cloak, 
and  his  presence  did  not  disturb  them.  The  judgment  rendered 
was,  that  the  man  who  had  been  rescued  should  be  thrown  into 
the  stream  again  at  the  same  spot ;  if  he  was  able  to  save  him- 
self, then  he  should  receive  compensation  for  the  eye  he  had  lost ; 
if  he  could  not,  the  decision  was  to  be  in  favour  of  the  other. 
Before  the  district-judge  went  away,  he  put  his  hand  into  his 
pocket  and  gave  the  boys  some  money ;  then,  merrily  riding  to 
Tondern,  he  rendered  the  same  judgment  as  the  boys  had  given. 
The  fellow  was  unable  to  save  himself  without  assistance,  and 
was  like  to  have  been  drowned;  consequently,  his  rescuer  won 
the  case  "  (508.  87,  88).  The  other  case,  said  to  have  occurred  at 
Rapstede,  was  this :  — 

"  A  tailor  and  a  peasant,  both  possessing  nothing  more  than  a 
wretched  hut,  made  a  bargain  for  so  and  so  many  bushels  of 
corn  at  such  and  such  a  price,  although  the  tailor  knew  that  the 
peasant  had  no  money,  and  the  peasant  knew  that  the  tailor  had  a 
needle,  but  no  corn.  Soon  the  price  of  corn  rose,  and  the  peasant 
appeared  before  the  court  to  demand  that  the  tailor  should  ful- 
fil his  part  of  the  bargain.  The  judges  were  at  a  loss  to  decide 
such  a  matter.  In  this  case,  also,  boys  rendered  judgment.  The 
decision  was,  that  the  agreement  was  invalid,  for  both,  being 
neighbours,  had  known  each  other's  circumstances,  and  yet  both 
were  culpable  for  having  entered  into  such  a  deceitful  bargain " 
(508.  88). 

These  decisions  belong  to  the  same  category  as  that  rendered 
by  Solomon  in  the  case  of  the  two  women,  who  both  claimed  the 
same  child,  —  a  judgment  which  has  gone  upon  record  in  the 
Bible  (1  Kings,  iii.  16-28),  —  and  a  multitude  of  similar  interpre- 
tations of  justice  found  all  over  the  world  (191.  290). 

Mr.  ISTewell,   speaking  of   children's  games  in  which  judicial 

The  Child  as  Judge.  289 

procedures  are  imitated,  but  from  whose  decisions   no   serious 
results  ever  come,  observes  (313.  123) :  — 

<*  In  the  ancient  world,  however,  where  the  courts  were  a  place 
of  resort,  and  law  was  not  a  specialized  profession,  the  case  was 
different.  Maximus  of  Tyre  tells  us  that  the  children  had  their 
laws  and  tribimals ;  condemnation  extended  to  the  forfeiture  of 
toys.  Cato  the  yoimger,  according  to  Plutarch,  had  his  detesta- 
tion of  tyranny  first  awakened  by  the  punishment  inflicted  on  a 
playmate  by  such  a  tribunal.  One  of  the  younger  boys  had  been 
sentenced  to  imprisonment ;  the  doom  was  duly  carried  into  effect; 
but  Cato,  moved  by  his  cries,  rescued  him." 

Children's  Ideas  of  Right. 

Mr.  Brown,  of  the  Normal  School  at  Worcester,  Massachusetts, 
has  given  us  an  excellent  collection  of  Thoughts  and  Reasonings 
of  CJiildren  (194),  and  Signora  Paola  Lombroso,  in  her  interesting 
and  valuable  Essays  on  Child-Psychology,  has  also  contributed  to 
the  same  subject  (301.  45-72).  A  very  recent  study  is  that  of 
CJiildren' s  Rights,  by  Margaret  E.  Schallenberger  (341),  of  Leland 
Stanford,  Jr.  University,  California.  The  last  author  has  charted 
the  opinions  of  a  large  number — some  three  thousand  papers  were 
collected  —  of  boys  and  girls  from  six  to  sixteen  years  of  age, 
upon  the  following  case,  the  story  being  employed  as  specially 
appealing  to  children  (341.  89) :  — 

"  Jennie  had  a  beautiful  new  box  of  paints ;  and,  in  the  after- 
noon, while  her  mother  was  gone,  she  painted  all  the  chaii's  in  the 
parlour,  so  as  to  make  them  look  nice  for  her  mother.  When 
her  mother  came  home,  Jennie  ran  to  meet  her,  and  said,  'Oh 
mamma !  come  and  see  how  pretty  I  have  made  the  new  parlour ' ; 
but  her  mamma  took  her  paints  away  and  sent  her  to  bed.  If 
you  had  been  her  mother,  what  would  you  have  done  or  said 
to  Jennie  ?  " 

From  this  extensive  and  most  ingenious  investigation,  the  fol- 
lowing results  are  thought  to  have  been  obtained :  "  Yoimg  chil- 
dren are  less  merciful  than  older  ones.  When  they  appear  cruel 
and  resentful,  we  know  that  they  are  exercising  what  they  hon- 
estly consider  the  right  of  revenge.  Boys  are  less  merciful  than 
girls.     Young  children  judge  of  actions  by  their  results,  older  ones 

290  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

look  at  the  motives  which  prompt  them.  If  a  young  child  dis- 
obeys a  command  and  no  bad  result  follows,  he  doesn't  see  that 
he  has  done  wrong.  Punishments  which  have  in  them  the  idea 
of  restitution  are  common  to  all  ages.  Girls  consider  the  why 
more  than  boys;  they  explain  to  Jennie  oftener  than  boys  do. 
Threats  and  forced  promises  do  not  impress  children"  (341.  96). 

Jurisprudence  of  Child's  Play. 

Pitre,  the  great  Italian  folklorist,  has  made  a  special  study, 
though  a  very  brief  one,  of  the  judgments  rendered  by  children  in 
games  and  plays,  —  the  jurisprudence  of  child's  play  (323).  His 
essay,  which  is  devoted  to  the  island  of  Sicily,  touches  upon  a  field 
which  is  likely  to  yield  a  rich  harvest  all  over  the  world.  The 
rules  of  the  game ;  who  shall  play  and  who  shall  not ;  what  is 
"out,"  "taw,"  "in";  when  is  one  "it,"  "caught,"  "out";  what 
can  one  "  bar,"  and  what  "  choose,"  —  all  these  are  matters  which 
require  the  decisions  of  the  youthful  judiciary,  and  call  for  the 
frequent  exercise  of  judgment,  and  the  sense  of  justice  and  equity. 
Of  the  "  Boy  Code  of  Honour "  some  notice  is  taken  by  Gregor 
(246.  21-24).  Mr.  Newell  thus  describes  the  game  of  "Judge  and 
Jury,"  as  played  at  Cambridge,  Massachusetts  (312. 123)  :  "  A  child 
is  chosen  to  be  judge,  two  others  for  jurors  (or,  to  speak  with  our 
little  informant,  juries),  who  sit  at  his  right  and  left  hand.  Each 
child  must  ask  the  permission  of  the  judge  before  taking  any 
step.  A  platter  is  brought  in,  and  a  child,  rising,  asks  the  judge, 
*  May  I  go  into  the  middle  of  the  room  ? '  '  May  I  turn  the  plat- 
ter ? '  '  On  which  side  shall  it  fall  ? '  If  the  platter  falls  on  the 
wrong  side,  forfeit  must  be  paid."  In  Germany  and  Switzerland 
there  is  a  game  of  the  trial  of  a  thief.  In  the  former  country : 
"  There  is  a  king,  a  judge,  an  executioner,  an  accuser,  and  a  thief. 
The  parts  are  assigned  by  drawing  lots,  but  the  accuser  does  not 
know  the  name  of  the  thief,  and,  if  he  makes  an  error,  has  to 
undergo  the  penalty  in  his  stead.  The  judge  finally  addresses  the 
king,  inquiring  if  his  majesty  approves  of  his  decision;  and  the 
king  replies,  'Yes,  your  sentence  entitles  you  to  my  favour';  or, 
'No,  your  sentence  entitles  you  to  so  many  blows.'  Thus  we  see 
how  modern  child's  play  respects  the  dignity  of  the  king  as  the 
fountain  of  law."     In  the  Swiss  version,  as  Mr.  Newell  remarks, 

The  Child  as  Judge.  291 

"the  memory  of  tlie  severity  of  ancient  criminal  law  is  pre- 
served/' for  "  the  thief  flies,  and  is  chased  over  stock  and  stone 
until  caught,  when  he  is  made  to  kneel  down,  his  cap  pushed  over 
his  brows,  and  his  head  immediately  struck  off  with  the  edge  of  a 
board"  (313.124). 


The  most  interesting  section,  perhaps,  of  Mr.  Johnson's  Rudi- 
mentary  Society  among  Boys,  is  that  devoted  to  "Judicial  Pro- 
cedure "  (272.  35-48).  Fighting,  arbitration,  the  ordeal  and  the 
wager  have  all  been  in  use  as  modes  of  settling  quarrels  at  the 
McDonogh  School  —  such  matters  of  dispute  as  arose  having 
been  left  for  the  boys  to  settle  among  themselves  without  the  con- 
trol of  the  faculty.  Indeed,  the  advice  which  Polonius  gives  to 
Laertes  seems  to  have  been  ever  present  in  the  earlier  days :  — 

"  Beware 
Of  entrance  to  a  quarrel ;  but  being  in, 
Bear't  that  th'  opposed  may  beware  of  thee." 

Following  the  appeal  to  fists  came  the  appeal  to  chance  and 
luck  —  the  "  odd  or  even  "  marbles,  the  "  longest  straw,"  and  like 
devices  came  into  vogue.  The  arbitration  of  a  bystander,  par- 
ticularly of  "a  big  boy  who  could  whip  the  others,"  and  the 
"  expedient  of  laying  a  wager  to  secure  the  postponement  of  a 
quarrel,"  are  very  common.  But  the  most  remarkable  institution 
at  McDonogh  is  undoubtedly  the  boy-moot,  one  of  whose  deci- 
sions is  reported  in  detail  by  Mr.  Johnson,  —  an  institution  in 
action  "almost  daily,"  and  part  and  parcel  of  the  life  of  the 
school.  Xone  but  the  author's  own  words  can  justly  portray  it 
(272.  47,  48) :  — 

"The  crowd  of  boys  assembled  about  the  contestants,  whose 
verdict  decides  the  controversy,  is,  in  many  respects,  the  counter- 
part of  a  primitive  assembly  of  the  people  in  the  folk-moot. 
Every  boy  has  the  right  to  express  an  opinion,  and  every  boy 
present  exercises  his  privilege,  though  personal  prowess  and  great 
experience  in  matters  of  law  have  their  full  influence  on  the 
minds  of  the  judges.  The  primitive  idea  that  dispensing  justice 
is  a  ptiblic  trust,  which  the  community  itself  must  fulfil  towards 
its  members,  is  embodied  in  this  usage  of  the  '  McDonogh  boys.' 

292  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

The  judges  are  not  arbitrators  chosen  by  the  disputants,  nor  are 
they  public  functionaries  whose  sole  business  is  to  preside  over 
the  courts ;  but  the  whole  body  of  the  population  declares  by  word 
of  mouth  the  right  and  wrong  of  the  matter.  This  tumultuous 
body  of  school-fellows,  giving  decisions  in  quarrels,  and  deter- 
mining questions  of  custom,  reproduces  with  remarkable  fidelity 
the  essential  character  of  the  primitive  assembly." 

Mr.  Johnson  was  struck  with  "  the  peace  and  good  order  gener- 
ally prevalent  in  the  community,"  which  speaks  well  for  the 
judicial  system  there  in  vogue. 

The  editor,  in  his  introductory  remarks,  observes :  — 

"Every  schoolboy  and  every  college  student  in  his  upward 
way  to  real  manhood  represents  the  evolution  of  a  primitive  sav- 
age into  a  civilized  being.  Every  school  and  college  reproduces 
the  developmental  process  of  a  human  society  in  some  of  its  most 
interesting  aspects,  such  as  government  and  law.  There  are  all 
stages  of  social  development  in  the  student  class,  from  actual 
savagery,  which  frequently  crops  out  in  the  very  best  schools 
and  colleges,  to  effeminate  forms  of  modern  civilization.  There 
are  all  degrees  of  institutional  government,  from  total  anarchy 
and  patriarchal  despotism  to  Eoman  imperialism  and  constitu- 
tional government ;  although  it  must  be  admitted  that  self- 
government  among  the  stiident  class  —  said  to  obtain  in  some 
American  schools  and  colleges  —  is  not  yet  a  chartered  right. 
The  regulation  of  student  society  by  itself,  or  by  all  the  powers 
that  be,  presents  all  phases  of  judicature,  from  the  most  savage 
ordeals  to  the  most  humane.  Student  customs  are  full  of  ancient 
survivals,  and  some  editions  of  'College  Laws'  are  almost  as 
archaic  as  the  Code  of  Manu.  One  of  these  days  we  shall  per- 
haps find  men  investigating  college  jurisprudence,  college  govern- 
ment, and  college  politics  from  the  comparative  point  of  view, 
and  writing  the  natural  history  of  the  student  class  "  (272.  3). 

In  the  community  of  the  sand-pile  studied  by  Dr.  Hall,  "a 
general  habit  of  settling  disputes,  often  brought  to  issue  with 
fists,  by  means  of  meetings  and  specifications,  arose."  There  is 
room  for  a  volume  on  the  jurisprudence  of  childhood  and  youth, 
and  every  page  would  be  of  intensest  interest  and  of  value  in  the 
history  of  the  evolution  of  the  ideas  of  justice  in  the  human  race. 


The  Child  as  Oracle-Keeper  and  Oracle- 

Eniants  et  foos  sont  devins  [Children  and  fools  are  soothsayers]. — French 


Children  pick  up  words  as  chickens  peas, 

And  utter  them  again  as  God  shall  please.  — English  Proverb. 

The  fresh  face  of  a  child  is  richer  in  significance  than  the  forecasting  of  the 
most  indubitable  seer.  —  Novalis. 


"  Children  and  fools  speak  the  truth,"  says  an  old  and  wide- 
spread proverb,  and  another  version  includes  him  who  is  drunken, 
making  a  trinity  of  truth-tellers.  In  like  manner  have  the  frenzy 
of  wine  and  the  madness  of  the  gods  been  associated  in  every  age 
with  oracle  and  sign,  and  into  this  oracular  trinity  enters  also  the 
child.  Said  De  Quincey :  "  God  speaks  to  children  also,  in  dreams 
and  by  the  oracles  that  lurk  in  darkness,"  and  the  poet  Stoddard 
has  clothed  in  exquisite  language  a  similar  thought :  — 

"  Nearer  the  gate  of  Paradise  than  we, 
Our  children  breathe  its  air,  its  angels  see  ; 
And  when  they  pray,  God  hears  their  simple  prayer, 
Yea,  even  sheathes  his  sword  in  judgment  bare." 

The  passage  in  Joel  ii.  28,  ''Your  old  men  shall  dream  dreams, 
your  young  men  shall  see  visions,"  might  stand  for  not  a  few 
primitive  peoples,  with  whom,  once  iu  childhood  (or  youth)  and 
once  again  in  old  age,  man  communes  with  the  spirits  and  the 
gods,  and  interprets  the  events  of  life  to  his  fellows. 

The  Darien  Indians,  we  are  told,  "  used  the  seeds  of  the  Datura 
sanguinea  to  bring  on  in  children  prophetic  delirium  in  which 
they  revealed  hidden  treasures  "  (545.  II.  417). 


294  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

One  of  the  most  curious  of  the  many  strange  practices  which 
the  conservatism  of  the  Established  Church  of  England  has  con- 
tinued down  to  the  present  is  one  in  vogue  at  the  parish  church 
of  St.  Ives,  in  Huntingdonshire.  A  certain  Dr.  Eobert  Wilde, 
who  died  in  1678,  "bequeathed  £50,  the  yearly  interest  of  which 
was  to  be  expended  in  the  purchase  of  six  Bibles,  not  exceeding 
the  price  of  7s.  6d.  each,  which  should  be  *  cast  for  by  dice '  on 
the  communion  table  every  year  by  six  boys  and  six  girls  of  the 
town."  The  vicar  was  also  to  be  paid  10s.  a  year  for  preaching 
an  appropriate  sermon  on  the  Holy  Scriptures.  Public  opinion 
has  within  recent  years  caused  the  erection  of  a  table  on  the 
chancel  steps,  where  the  dice-throwing  now  takes  place,  instead 
of  on  the  communion  table  as  of  old.  Every  May  26th  the  cere- 
mony is  performed,  and  in  1888  we  are  told :  "  The  highest  throw 
this  year  (three  times  with  three  dice)  was  37,  by  a  little  girl. 
The  vicar  (the  Rev.  E.  Tottenham)  preached  a  sermon  from  the 
words,  'From  a  child  thou  hast  known  the  Holy  Scriptures'" 
(390  (1888).  113). 

The  Child  as  Vision-Seer. 

In  the  history  of  the  Catholic  Church  one  cannot  fail  to  be 
struck  by  the  part  played  by  children  in  the  seeing  of  visions, 
especially  of  the  Virgin.  To  St.  Agnes  of  Monte  Pulciano 
(a.d.  1274-1317),  when  fourteen  years  of  age,  the  Virgin  ap- 
peared and  told  her  she  should  build  a  monastery  before  she 
died  (191.  24);  Jeanne  de  Maille  (1332-1414)  was  but  eleven 
when  the  Virgin  Mary  with  the  infant  Jesus  came  before  her 
in  a  vision;  Catherine  of  Eacconigi  (1486-1547)  was  visited  by 
the  Virgin  when  only  five  years  of  age  (191.  108) ;  in  1075,  Her- 
mann of  Cologne,  while  still  a  boy,  saw  in  a  vision  the  Virgin, 
who  kissed  him,  and  made  a  secret  deposit  of  food  on  a  certain 
stone  for  his  benefit.  In  1858  a  vision  of  the  Immaculate  Con- 
ception appeared  to  Bernadetta  Soubirous,  a  sickly  child  of 
fourteen,  at  Lourdes,  in  the  Hautes  Pyrenees.  No  one  else  saw 
this  vision,  said  to  have  occurred  on  Shrove  Tuesday  (Feb.  11), 
four  years  after  Pius  IX.  had  proclaimed  the  dogma  of  the 
Immaculate  Conception.  The  vision  lasted  for  fourteen  succes- 
sive days  (191.  484).  On  Jan.  17,  1871,  the  Virgin  is  alleged  to 
have  appeared  at  Pontmain  to  several  children,  and  a  detailed 

The  Child  as  Oracle.  295 

account  of  the  vision  has  been  given  by  Mgr.  Guerin,  chamber- 
lain of  Pius  IX.,  in  his  Vie  des  Saints,  and  this  is  digested  in 
Brewer.  The  children  who  saw  the  apparition  are  described  as 
follows:  "Eugene  Barbedette  was  the  second  son  of  a  small 
farmer  living  in  the  village  of  Pontmain,  in  the  diocese  of  Laval, 
He  was  twelve  years  old,  and  his  brother  Joseph  was  ten.  The 
other  two  [Franqoise  Richer,  Jeanne  Marie  Lebosse]  were  chil- 
dren from  neighbouring  cottages,  called  in  to  witness  the  sight. 
The  parents  of  the  children,  the  pastor  of  the  village,  Sister  Vita- 
line,  the  abbot  Guerin,  all  present,  could  see  nothing,  nor  could 
any  of  the  neighbours  of  outlying  villages,  who  flocked  to  the 
place.  Only  the  children  mentioned,  a  sick  child,  and  a  babe  in 
the  arms  of  its  grandmother,  saw  the  apparition."  The  descrip- 
tion of  the  Virgin,  as  seen  by  Eugene  Barbedette  that  starlight 
winter  night,  is  quaint  and  naive  in  the  extreme :  "  She  was  very 
tall,  robed  in  blue,  and  her  robe  studded  with  stars.  Her  shoes 
were  also  blue,  but  had  red  rosettes.  Her  face  was  covered  with 
a  black  veil,  which  floated  to  her  shoulders.  A  crown  of  gold 
was  on  her  head,  but  a  red  Une  was  observed  to  run  round  the 
crown,  symbolic  of  the  blood  shed  by  Christ  for  the  sins  of  the 
world.  Beneath  her  feet  was  a  scroll,  on  which  wei-e  written 
these  words :  '  Mais  priez,  mes  enfants,  Dieu  vous  exaucera,  en 
peu  de  temps  mon  fils  se  laisse  toucher'  (Pray,  my  children, 
God  will  hear  you,  before  long  my  son  will  be  moved)."  Mgr. 
Guerin  thus  comments  upon  the  miracle :  "  In  order  to  make  her- 
self manifest  to  men,  the  Holy  Virgin  has  chosen  rather  the 
simple  eyes  of  childhood ;  for,  like  troubled  waters,  sinful  souls 
would  have  but  iU  reflected  her  celestial  image  "  (191.  26). 

Flower-  and  Animal-Oracles. 

Mr.  Newell  has  a  chapter  on  "  Flower-Oracles  "  (313.  105-114), 
in  which  he  gives  many  illustrations  of  the  practice  noted  in  the 
lines  of  that  nature-loving  mediaeval  German  singer,  with  which 
he  prefaces  his  remarks :  — 

•'  A  spire  of  grass  hath  made  me  gay ; 
It  saith  I  shall  find  mercy  mild. 
I  measured  in  the  self-same  way 
I  have  seen  practised  by  a  child. 

296  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

"  Come  look  and  listen  if  she  really  does : 
She  does,  does  not,  she  does,  does  not,  she  does. 
Each  time  I  try,  the  end  so  augureth. 
That  comforts  me,  —  'tis  right  that  we  have  faith." 

The  ox-eye  daisy,  the  eommon  daisy,  the  marguerite,  the  corn- 
flower, the  dandelion,  the  rose,  the  pansy,  the  clover,  and  a  score 
of  other  flowers  and  plants  (to  say  nothing  of  bushes  and  trees) 
have  their  leaves  and  petals  pulled  off,  their  seeds  counted,  their 
fruit  examined,  their  seed-tufts  blown  away,  their  markings  and 
other  peculiarities  deciphered  and  interpreted  to  determine  the 
fortune  of  little  questioners,  the  character  of  the  home  they  are 
to  live  in,  the  clothes  they  are  to  be  married  in,  what  they  are  to 
ride  in,  the  profession  they  are  to  adopt,  whether  they  are  to 
marry,  remain  single,  become  monk  or  mm,  whether  they  are 
to  be  drowned  or  hanged,  rich  or  poor,  honest  or  criminal,  whether 
they  are  to  go  to  hell,  purgatory,  or  paradise. 

The  use  of  drawing  straws  or  blades  of  grass  from  the  hand  to 
determine  who  is  "  it,"  or  who  shall  begin  the  game,  the  blowing 
of  the  dandelion  in  seed,  the  counting  of  apple-pips,  or  the  leaves 
on  a  twig,  and  a  hundred  other  expedients  belong  to  the  same  cat- 
egory. All  these  are  oracles,  whose  priest  and  interpreter  is  the 
child ;  first,  in  "  those  sweet,  childish  days  that  were  as  long  as 
twenty  days  are  now,"  and  then  again  when  love  rules  the  heart 
and  the  appeal  to  the  arbitrament  of  nature  —  for  not  alone  all 
mankind  but  all  nature  loves  a  lover  —  is  made  in  deepest  faith 
and  confidence.  In  the  golden  age  of  childhood  and  in  the  spring- 
time of  love  all  nature  is  akin  to  man.  The  dandelion  is  espe- 
cially favoured  as  an  oracle  of  children,  and  of  those  who  are  but 
"children  of  a  larger  growth."  To  quote  from  Folkard  (448. 
309):  — 

"  The  dandelion  is  called  the  rustic  oracle ;  its  flowers  always 
open  about  5  a.m.  and  shut  at  8  p.m.,  serving  the  shepherd  for 

a  clock. 

'  Leontodons  unfold 
On  the  swart  turf  their  ray-encircled  gold, 
With  Sol's  expanding  beam  the  flowers  unclose. 
And  rising  Hesper  lights  them  to  repose.'  — Darwin. 

As  the  flower  is  the  shepherd's  clock,  so  are  the  feathery  seed- 
tufts  his  barometer,  predicting  calm  or  storm.    These  downy  seed- 

TJie  Child  a%  Oracle.  297 

balls,  which  children  blow  off  to  find  out  the  hour  of  day,  serve 
for  other  oracular  purposes.  Are  you  separated  from  the  object 
of  your  love  ?  Carefully  pluck  one  of  the  feathery  heads ;  charge 
each  of  the  little  feathers  composing  it  with  a  tender  thought; 
turn  towards  the  spot  where  the  loved  one  dwells ;  blow,  and  the 
seed-ball  will  convey  your  message  faithfully.  Do  you  wish  to 
know  if  that  dear  one  is  thinking  of  you?  blow  again;  and  if 
there  be  left  upon  the  stalk  a  single  aigrette,  it  is  a  proof  you  are 
not  forgotten.  Similarly,  the  dandelion  is  consulted  as  to  whether 
the  lover  lives  east,  west,  north,  or  south,  and  whether  he  is  com- 
ing or  not. 

'  Will  he  come  ?    I  pluck  the  flower  leaves  of^ 

And,  at  each,  cry  yes,  no,  yes  ; 
I  blow  the  down  from  the  dry  hawkweed, 

Once,  twice — hah  !  it  flies  amiss! '  —  Scotty 

Many  interesting  details  about  flower-oracles  may  be  read  in  the 
pages  of  Friend  (453)  and  Folkard  (448)  and  in  Mr.  Dyer's  chap- 
ters on  Plants  and  the  Ceremonial  Use  (435.  145-162),  Children/ s 
Rhymes  and  Games  (435.  232-242),  etc. 

Beasts,  birds,  and  insects  are  also  the  child's  oracles.  Mr. 
Callaway  tells  us  that  among  the  Amazulu,  when  cattle  are  lost, 
and  the  boys  see  the  bird  called  Isi  pungumangati  sitting  on  a 
tree,  "  they  ask  it  where  the  cattle  are,  and  go  in  the  direction  in 
which  it  points  with  its  head."  The  insect  known  as  the  mantis, 
or  "  praying  insect,"  is  used  for  a  similar  purpose  (417.  339).  In 
the  Sollinger  forest  (Germany),  on  St.  Matthew's  day,  February 
24,  the  following  practice  is  in  vogue :  A  girl  takes  a  girl  friend 
upon  her  back  and  carries  her  to  the  nearest  sheep-pen,  at  the 
door  of  which  both  knock.  If  a  lamb  is  the  first  to  bleat,  the 
future  husbands  of  both  girls  will  be  young ;  if  an  old  sheep  bleats 
first,  they  wiU  both  marry  old  men  (391.  II.  10). 

Hie  Child  as  Orade  in  ike  Primitive  Community. 

In  primitive  social  economy  the  services  of  the  child,  as  an 
unprejudiced  or  oracular  decider  of  fates  and  fortunes,  were  often 
in  demand.  In  the  community  of  Pudu-vayal,  in  the  Carnatic 
(southeastern  India),  "when  the  season  for  cultivation  arrives, 
the  arable  land  in  the  village  is  allotted  to  the  several  shareholders 

298  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

in  the  following  manner :  The  names  of  each  lot  and  each  share- 
holder are  written  on  pieces  of  the  leaf  of  the  palm-tree,  such  as 
is  used  for  village  records,  and  the  names  of  each  division  of  land 
to  be  allotted  are  placed  in  a  row.  A  child,  selected  for  the  pur- 
pose, draws  by  lot  a  leaf  with  the  name  of  the  principal  share- 
holder, and  places  under  it  a  number,  thus,  — 

12  3  4 

Tannappa.  Nina.  Narrappa.  Malliyan. 

It  is  thus  settled  by  lottery  that  Tannappa  and  his  under-share- 
holders  are  to  cultivate  the  land  of  the  principal  share  lotted 
under  No.  1.  Tannappa  next  proceeds  to  settle  in  the  same  way 
each  under-shareholder's  portion  included  in  his  principal  share, 
and  so  on,  until  the  sixty-four  shareholders  receive  each  his  allot- 
ment (461.  32)." 

At  Haddenham,  in  the  county  of  Buckingham,  England,  a  some- 
what similar  practice  survived :  "  The  method  of  deciding  the 
ownership,  after  the  meadow  was  plotted  out,  was  by  drawing 
lots.  This  was  done  by  cutting  up  a  common  dock-weed  into  the 
required  number  of  pieces  to  represent  the  lots,  a  well  understood 
sign  being  carved  on  each  piece,  representing  crows'  feet,  hog- 
troughs,  and  so  on.  These  were  placed  in  a  hat  and  shaken  up. 
Before  this  could  be  done,  however,  notice  must  be  given  by  one 
of  the  men,  calling  out,  at  the  top  of  his  voice,  '  Harko,'  and  using 
some  sort  of  rigmarole,  calling  people  to  witness  that  the  lots 
were  drawn  fairly  and  without  favour.  .  .  .  The  hat  being 
shaken  up,  and  one  of  the  boys  standing  by,  looking  on  with 
the  greatest  interest,  is  pitched  upon  as  a  disinterested  person  to 
draw  the  lots,  and  each  owner  had  to  '  sup  up '  with  the  lot  that 
fell  to  him  "  (461.  270). 

In  the  manor  of  Aston,  in  the  parish  of  Bampton,  Oxfordshire, 
a  like  custom  prevailed :  "  When  the  grass  was  fit  to  cut,  the 
grass  stewards  and  Sixteens  [stewards]  summoned  the  freeholders 
and  tenants  to  a  general  meeting,  and  the  following  ceremony 
took  place :  Four  of  the  tenants  came  forward,  each  bearing  his 
mark  cut  on  a  piece  of  wood,  which,  being  thrown  into  a  hat, 
were  shaken  up  and  drawn  by  a  boy.  The  first  drawing  entitled 
its  owner  to  have  his  portion  of  the  common  meadow  in  set  one, 
the  second  drawn  in  set  two,  etc.,  and  thus  four  of  the  tenants 

The  Child  as  Orach.  299 

have  obtained  their  allotments.  Four  others  then  came  forward, 
and  the  same  process  is  repeated  until  all  the  tenants  have 
received  their  allotments"  (461.  166). 

In  Kilkenny,  "when  the  division  is  made  out,  lots  are  pre- 
pared. Each  man  takes  a  bit  of  stick  or  particular  stone,  well 
marked;  these  are  enveloped  in  a  ball  of  clay,  and  a  child  or 
stranger  is  called  to  place  each  ball  upon  some  one  of  the  lots, 
by  which  each  man's  share  is  determined  "  (461.  141). 

The  Kaffir  boy  who  is  to  tend  the  calves  in  the  kraal,  while 
his  fellows  sport  and  romp  about,  is  selected  by  lot:  "As  many 
blades  of  grass  as  there  are  boys  are  taken,  and  a  knot  is  made 
on  the  end  of  one  of  them.  The  biggest  boy  holds  the  blades 
between  the  fingers  and  thumb  of  his  closed  hand,  and  whoever 
draws  the  blade  with  the  knot  has  to  act  as  herdsman  "  (543.  221). 

Nowadays,  children  are  employed  to  turn  roulette-wheels,  sort 
cards,  pick  out  lottery-tickets,  select  lucky  numbers,  set  machinery 
going  for  the  first  time,  and  perform  other  like  actions ;  for,  though 
men  are  all  "  children  of  fortune,"  there  is  something  about  real 
children  that  brings  luck  and  prospers  all  enterprises  of  chance 
and  hazard. 

Unconscious  action  and  selection  by  children  have  no  doubt 
profoundly  influenced  individual  men  and  society  at  times.  De 
Quincey  tells  us  that  "the  celebrated  Dr.  Doddridge  is  said  to 
have  been  guided  in  a  primary  act  of  choice,  influencing  his  whole 
after  life,  by  a  few  chance  words  from  a  child  reading  aloud  to  his 
mother."  The  story  of  the  conversion  of  drunken  John  Stirling 
by  the  naive  remark  of  his  four-year-old  boy,  as  the  mother 
was  reading  Matthew  xxv.  31-33,  "Will  father  be  a  goat,  then, 
mother?"  finds  parallels  in  other  lives  and  other  lands  (191.356). 

Here  may  be  considered  as  belonging  some  of  the  "guessing- 
games,"  certain  of  which,  in  forms  remarkably  like  those  in  use 
to-day,  were  known  to  the  ancients,  as  Mr.  Newell  has  pointed 
out,  from  references  in  Xenophon  and  Petronius  Arbiter  (313. 

Oracular  Games. 

As  we  of  to-day  see  in  the  sports  and  games  of  children  some 
resemblance  to  the  realities  of  life  of  our  ancestors  of  long  ago, 
and  of  those  primitive  peoples  who  have  lingered  behind  in  the 

^00  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

march  of  culture,  so  have  the  folk  seen  in  them  some  echo,  some 
oracular  reverberation,  of  the  deeds  of  absent  elders,  some  fore- 
cast of  the  things  to  come. 

Among  the  Shushwap  Indians  of  British  Columbia,  the  follow- 
ing belief  is  current  regarding  twins  :  "  While  they  are  children 
their  mother  can  see  by  their  plays  whether  her  husband,  when 
he  is  out  hunting,  will  be  successful  or  not.  When  the  twins  play 
about  and  feign  to  bite  each  other,  he  will  be  successful ;  if  they 
keep  quiet,  he  will  return  empty-handed  "  (404.  92). 

In  Saxon  Transylvania,  "  when  children  play  games  in  which 
dolls  and  the  like  are  buried,  play  church,  or  sing  hymns  in  the 
street,  it  is  thought  to  foretell  the  approaching  death  of  some  one 
in  the  place"  (392  (1893).  18). 

Similar  superstitions  attach  to  others  of  the  games  and  sports 
of  childhood,  in  which  is  reproduced  the  solemn  earnest  of  an 
earlier  manhood ;  for,  with  some  peoples,  the  conviction  that  what 
is  acted  in  pantomime  must  occur  at  a  later  date  in  all  its  reality, 
finds  ready  acceptance,  and  hence  children  are  sometimes  even 
now  debarred  from  carrying  out  some  of  their  games,  from  a 
vague  fear  that  ill  will  come  of  them  in  the  manner  indicated. 

^   II 


The  Child  as  Weather-Maker. 

Rain,  rain,  go  away. 

Come  again,  another  day.  —  Children's  Bhyme. 

Perhaps  the  most  naive  tale  in  which  the  child  figures  as  a 
weather-maker  occurs  in  the  life-story  of  St.  Vincent  Ferrier 
(1357-1419  A.D.),  who  is  credited  with  performing,  in  twenty 
years,  no  fewer  than  58,400  miracles.  While  the  saint  was  not 
yet  a  year  old,  a  great  dearth  prevailed  in  Valencia,  and  one  day, 
while  his  mother  was  lamenting  over  it,  "  the  infant  in  swaddling- 
clothes  said  to  her  distinctly,  '  Mother,  if  you  wish  for  rain,  carry 
me  in  procession.'  The  babe  was  carried  in  procession,  and  the 
rain  fell  abundantly  "  (191.  356),  Brewer  informs  us  that  in  1716 
"Mrs.  Hicks  and  her  daughter  (a  child  nine  years  of  age)  were 
hung  at  Huntingdon  [England],  for  'selling  their  souls  to  the 
devil;  and  raising  a  storm  by  pulling  off  their  stockings  and 
making  a  lather  of  soap ' "  (191.  344).  Saints  and  witches  had 
power  to  stop  rains  and  lay  storms  as  well  as  to  bring  them  on. 

H.  F.  Feilberg  has  given  us  an  interesting  account  of  '•'  weather- 
making,"  a  folk-custom  still  in  vogue  in  several  parts  of  Den- 
mark. It  would  appear  that  this  strange  custom  exists  in 
Djursland,  Samse,  Sejero,  Nexele,  in  the  region  of  Kallundborg. 
Here  "the  women  'make  weather'  in  February,  the  men  in 
March,  all  in  a  fixed  order,  usually  according  to  the  numbers 
of  the  tax-register.  The  pastor  and  his  wife,  each  in  his  and 
her  month,  '  make  weather '  on  the  first  of  the  month,  after  them 
the  other  inhabitants  of  the  village.  If  the  married  men  are  not 
sufficient  to  fill  out  the  days  of  the  months,  the  unmarried  ones 
and  the  servants  are  called  upon,  —  the  house-servant  perhaps 
'making  weather'  in  the  morning,  the  hired  boy  in  the  afternoon, 


802  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

and  in  like  manner  the  kitchen-maid  and  the  girl-servant"  (392 
(1891).  56,  58).  In  this  case  we  have  a  whole  family,  household, 
community  of  "weather-makers,"  old  and  young,  and  are  really 
taken  back  to  a  culture-stage  similar  to  that  of  the  Caribs  and 
Chibchas  of  America,  with  whom  the  chief  was  weather-maker 
as  well  as  ruler  of  his  people  (101.  57). 

Tlie  "Bull-Roarer." 

In  Mr.  Andrew  Lang's  Custom  and  Myth  there  is  an  entertain- 
ing chapter  on  "The  Bull  Koarer,"  which  the  author  identifies 
with  the  p6fjifto<:  mentioned  by  Clemens  of  Alexandria  as  one  of 
the  toys  of  the  infant  Dionysus.  The  "bull-roarer,"  known  to 
the  modern  English  boy,  the  ancient  Greek,  the  South  African,  the 
American  Indian,  etc.,  is  in  actual  use  to-day  by  children,  —  Mr. 
Lang  does  not  seem  to  be  aware  of  the  fact,  —  as  a  "wind-raiser," 
or  "  weather-maker."  Mr.  Gregor,  speaking  of  northeastern 
Scotland,  says  :  "  During  thunder  it  was  not  unusual  for  boys  to 
take  a  piece  of  thin  wood  a  few  inches  wide  and  about  half  a 
foot  long,  bore  a  hole  in  one  end  of  it,  and  tie  a  few  yards  of 
twine  into  the  hole.  The  piece  of  wood  was  rapidly  whirled 
around  the  head  under  the  belief  that  the  thunder  would  cease, 
or  that  the  thunder-bolt  would  not  strike.  It  went  by  the  name 
of  the  "thunner-speir"  (246.  153). 

Among  the  Kaffirs,  according  to  Mr.  Theal :  — 

"There  is  a  kind  of  superstition  connected  with  the  nowidu 
[the  South  African  '  bull-roarer '],  that  playing  with  it  invites  a 
gale  of  wind.  Men  will,  on  this  account,  often  prevent  boys 
from  using  it  when  they  desire  calm  weather  for  any  purpose  " 
(543.  223). 

Dr.  Boas  tells  us  that  the  Shushwap  Indians  of  British  Colum- 
bia attribute  supernatural  powers  to  twins,  and  believe :  "  They 
can  make  good  and  bad  weather.  In  order  to  produce  rain  they 
take  a  small  basket  filled  with  water,  which  they  spill  into  the 
air.  For  making  clear  weather,  they  use  a  small  stick  to  the  end 
of  which  a  string  is  tied.  A  small  flat  piece  of  wood  is  attached 
to  the  end  of  the  string,  and  this  implement  is  shaken.  Storm 
is  produced  by  strewing  down  on  the  ends  of  spruce  branches  " 
(404.  92). 

The  Child  as  Weather- Maker.  303 

The  Nootka  Indians  have  a  like  belief  regarding  twins :  "  They 
have  the  power  to  make  good  and  bad  weather.  They  produce 
rain  by  painting  their  faces  with  black  colour  and  then  washing 
them,  or  by  merely  shaking  their  heads  "  (404.  40). 

Among  some  of  the  Kwakiutl  Indians,  upon  the  birth  of  twins 
"the  father  dances  for  four  days  after  the  children  have  been 
born,  with  a  large  square  rattle.  The  children,  by  swinging  this 
rattle,  can  cure  disease  and  procure  favourable  winds  and  weather" 
(404.  62). 

In  Prussia,  when  it  snows,  the  folk-belief  is  "  the  angels  are 
shaking  their  little  beds,"  and  Grimm's  story  of  "Old  Mother 
Frost"  has  another  rendering  of  the  same  myth:  "What  are 
you  afraid  of,  my  child!  Stop  with  me:  if  you  will  put  all 
things  in  order  in  my  house,  then  all  shall  go  well  with  you; 
only  you  must  take  care  that  you  make  my  bed  well,  and  shake 
tremendously,  so  that  the  feathers  fly ;  then  it  snows  upon  earth. 
I  am  Old  Mother  Frost." 

An  Eskimo  legend  states  that  thunder  and  lightning  are  caused 
by  an  adult  person  and  a  child,  who  went  up  in  the  sky  long, 
long  ago;  they  carry  a  dried  seal-skin,  which,  when  rattled, 
makes  the  thimder,  and  torches  of  tar,  which,  when  waved,  cause 
the  lightning. 

The  Mississaga  Indians  explain  a  fierce  storm  of  thunder  and 
lightning  by  saying  that  "  the  young  thunder-birds  up  in  the  sky 
are  making  merry  and  having  a  good  time."  In  like  manner,  the 
Dakotas  account  for  the  rumbling  of  thunder,  "because  the  old 
thunder-bird  begins  the  peal  and  the  young  ones  take  it  up  and 

In  the  poetry  of  the  ancient  Aryans  of  Asia  the  wind  is  called 
"the  heavenly  child,"  some  idea  of  which  survives  in  the  old 
pictures  in  books  representing  the  seasons,  and  in  maps,  where 
infants  or  cherubs  are  figured  as  blowing  at  the  various  points  of 
the  compass.  But  to  return  to  rain-making.  Grimm  has  called 
attention  to  several  instances  in  Modern  Europe  where  the  child 
figures  as  "  rain-maker." 

Girl  Rain-Makers. 

One  of  the  charms  in  use  in  the  Ehine  country  of  Germany  in 
the  eleventh  century,  as  recorded  by  Burchard  of  Worms,  was 

804  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

this:  "A  little  girl,  completely  undressed  and  led  outside  tlie 
town,  had  to  dig  up  henbane  with  the  little  finger  of  her  right 
hand,  and  tie  it  to  the  little  toe  of  her  right  foot ;  she  was  then 
solemnly  conducted  by  the  other  maidens  to  the  nearest  river, 
and  splashed  with  water"  (462.  II.  593). 

In  Servia  the  rain-maker  is  well  known,  and  the  procedure  is 
as  follows:  "A  girl,  called  the  dodola,  is  stript  naked,  but  so 
wrapt  up  in  grass,  herbs,  and  flowers,  that  nothing  of  her  person 
is  to  be  seen,  not  even  the  face.  Escorted  by  other  maidens, 
dodola  passes  from  house  to  house ;  before  each  house  they  form 
a  ring,  she  standing  in  the  middle  and  dancing  alone.  The  good- 
wife  comes  out  and  empties  a  bucket  of  water  over  the  girl,  who 
keeps  dancing  and  whirling  all  the  while ;  her  companions  sing 
songs,  repeating  after  every  line  the  burden  oy  dodo,  oy  dodo  le." 
following  is  one  of  the  rain-songs :  — 

"  To  God  doth  our  doda  call,  oy  dodo  oy  dodo  le  I 
That  dewy  rain  may  fall,  oy  dodo  oy  dodo  le  1 
And  drench  the  diggers  all,  oy  dodo  oy  dodo  le  ! 
The  workers  great  and  small,  oy  dodo  oy  dodo  le  ! 
Even  those  in  house  and  stall,  oy  dodo  oy  dodo  le  !  " 

Corresponding  to  the  Servian  dodola,  and  thought  to  be  equally 
efficacious,  is  the  TrvpTrrjpovva  of  the  Modern  Greeks.  With  them 
the  custom  is :  "When  it  has  not  rained  for  a  fortnight  or  three 
weeks,  the  inhabitants  of  villages  and  small  towns  do  as  follows. 
The  children  choose  one  of  themselves,  who  is  from  eight  to  ten 
years  old,  usually  a  poor  orphan,  whom  they  strip  naked  and 
deck  from  head  to  foot  with  field  herbs  and  flowers  :  this  child  is 
called  TrvpTrrjpovva.  The  others  lead  her  round  the  village,  singing 
a  hymn,  and  every  housewife  has  to  throw  a  pailful  of  water 
over  the  pyrperuna's  head  and  hand  the  children  a  para  (^  of  a 
farthing)  "  (462.  I.  594). 

In  a  Wallachian  song,  sung  by  children  when  the  grain  is 
troubled  by  drought,  occurs  the  following  appeal :  "  Papaluga 
(Father  Luga),  climb  into  heaven,  open  its  doors,  and  send  down 
rain  from  above,  that  well  the  rye  may  grow ! "  (462.  II.  593). 
This  brings  us  naturally  to  the  consideration  of  the  rain-rhymes 
in  English  and  cognate  tongues. 

The  Child  as  Weather- 3Iaker.  305 


Mr.  Henderson,  treating  of  the  northern  counties  of  England, 
tells  us  that  when  the  rain  threatens  to  spoil  a  boy's  holiday,  he 

will  sing  out :  — 

" '  Rain,  rain,  go  away, 

Come  again  another  summer's  day ; 

Rain,  rain,  pour  down. 

And  come  no  more  to  otu"  town.' 

or:  — 

'  Rain,  rain,  go  away. 
And  come  again  on  washing  day,' 

or,  more  quaintly,  yet :  — 

'  Rain,  rain,  go  to  Spain  ; 
Fair  weather,  come  again,' 

and,  sooner  or  later,  the  rain  will  depart.  If  there  be  a  rainbow, 
the  juvenile  devotee  must  look  at  it  all  the  time.  The  Sunderland 
version  runs  thus :  — 

'  Rain,  rain,  pour  down 

Not  a  drop  in  our  town. 

But  a  pint  and  a  gill 

All  a-back  of  Building  Hill.' " 

Mr.  Henderson  remarks  that  "  such  rhymes  are  in  use,  I  believe, 
in  every  nursery  in  England,"  and  they  are  certainly  well  known, 
in  varying  forms  in  America.  A  common  English  charm  for 
driving  away  the  rainbow  brings  the  child  at  once  into  the 
domain  of  the  primitive  medicine-man.  Schoolboys  were  wont, 
"  on  the  appearance  of  a  rainbow,  to  place  a  couple  of  straws  or 
twigs  across  on  the  ground,  and,  as  they  said,  '  cross  out  the  rain- 
bow.' The  West  Riding  [Yorkshire]  receipt  for  driving  away  a 
rainbow  is :  '  Make  a  cross  of  two  sticks  and  lay  four  pebbles  on 
it,  one  at  each  end ' "  (469.  24,  25). 

Mr.  Gregor,  for  northeastern  Scotland,  reports  the  following  as 
being  sung  or  shouted  at  the  top  of  the  voice  by  children,  when  a 
rainbow  appears  (246.  153, 154) :  — 

(1)  "Rainbow,  rainbow. 

Brack  an  gang  hame. 
The  coo's  wi'  a  calf, 
The  yow's  wi'  a  lam. 
An'  the  coo  'ill  be  calvt. 
Or  ye  win  hame." 

306  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

(2)  *'Eainbow,  rainbow, 

Brack  an  gang  hame  ; 

Yir  father  an  yir  mither's  aneth  the  layer-stehn ; 

Yir  coo's  calvt,  yir  mare's  foalt, 

Yir  wife' 11  be  dead 

Or  ye  win  hame." 

(3)  "  Rainbow,  rainbow, 

Brack  an  gang  hame, 

Yir  father  and  mither's  aneth  the  grave  stehn." 

Even  more  touching  is  the  appeal  made  by  the  children  in 
Berwickshire,  according  to  Mr.  Henderson  (469.  24,  25) :  — 

"  Rainbow,  rainbow,  baud  awa'  hame, 
A'  yer  bairns  are  dead  but  ane. 
And  it  lies  sick  at  yon  gray  stane, 
And  will  be  dead  ere  you  win  hame. 
Gang  owre  the  Drumaw  [a  liill]  and  yont  the  lea 
And  down  by  the  side  o'  yonder  sea  ; 
Your  bairn  lies  greeting  [crying]  like  to  dee, 
And  the  big  tear-drop  is  in  his  e'e." 

Sometimes  the  child-priest  or  weather-maker  has  to  employ  an 
intermediary.  On  the  island  of  Eiigen  and  in  some  other  parts 
of  Germany  the  formula  is  (466  a.  132)  :  — 

"  Leeve  Katriene 
Lat  de  siinnen  schienen, 
Lat'n  ragen  overgahn, 
Lat  de  siinnen  wedder  kam'n." 
["Dear  (St.)  Catharine, 
Let  the  sun  shine, 
Let  the  rain  pass  off, 
Let  the  sun  come  again."] 

In  Rligen  the  glow-worm  is  associated  with  "  weather-making." 
The  children  take  the  little  creature  up,  put  it  on  their  hand  and 
thus  address  it  (466  a.  133)  :  — 

"  Siinnskiirnken  fleeg  weech. 
Bring  mi  morgen  good  wader, 
Lat  'en  ragen  overgahn, 
Lat  de  siinnen  wedder  kam'n. 
Bring  mi  morgen  good  wMer." 

If  the  insect  flies  away,  the  good  weather  will  come ;  if  not, 
there  will  be  rain. 

The  Child  as  Weather -Maker.  307 

The  Altmark  formula,  as  given  by  Daimeil  (Worterh.,  p.  81) 

is: — - 

«  Herrgottswormk'n,  flgg  nao'n  Hinunel,  segg  din  Vaoder  un 
Mutter,  daft  morgen  un  aowermorg'n  god  WadT  wart."  ["  Little 
God's-worm,  fly  to  heaven,  tell  your  father  and  mother  to  make  it 
fine  weather  to-morrow  and  the  day  after  to-morrow."] 

Another  rain-rhyme  from  Altmark,  sung  by  children  in  the 
streets  when  it  rains,  is  harsh  in  tone,  and  somewhat  derisive  as 
weU  (p.  153)  :  — 

'•  Rag'n  blatt,  maok  mi  nich  natt, 
Maok  den  oUn  Paop'n  natt 
De'n  Bud'l  vull  Geld  hat." 
["  Rain,  don't  make  me  wet, 
Make  the  old  priest  wet, 
Who  has  a  purse  full  of  money."] 

Concerning  the  Kansa  Indians,  Rev.  J.  Owen  Dorsey  informs  us 
that  the  members  of  the  Tcihaci"  or  Ka°ze  gens  are  looked  upon 
as  "  wind  people,"  and  when  there  is  a  blizzard  the  other  Kansa 
appeal  to  them :  "  0,  Grandfather,  I  wish  good  weather !  Please 
cause  one  of  your  children  to  be  decorated ! "  The  method  of 
stopping  the  blizzard  is  as  follows :  "  Then  the  youngest  son  of 
one  of  the  Ka°ze  men,  say  one  over  four  feet  high,  is  chosen  for  the 
purpose,  and  painted  with  red  paint.  The  youth  rolls  over  and 
over  in  the  snow  and  reddens  it  for  some  distances  all  around 
him.     This  is  supposed  to  stop  the  storm"  (433.  410). 

With  the  Kwakiutl  Indians  of  Vancouver  Island,  as  with  the 
Shushwaps  and  Nootka,  twins  are  looked  upon  in  the  light  of 
wonderful  beings,  having  power  over  the  weather.  Of  them  it  is 
said  "while  children  they  are  able  to  summon  any  wind  by 
motions  of  their  hands,  and  can  make  fair  or  bad  weather.  They 
have  the  power  of  curing  diseases,  and  use  for  this  pxirpose  a 
rattle  called  K-'oa'qaten,  which  has  the  shape  of  a  flat  box  about 
three  feet  long  by  two  feet  wide."  Here  the  "  weather-maker  " 
and  the  "  doctor  "  are  combined  in  the  same  person.  Among  the 
Tsimshian  Indians,  of  British  Columbia,  twins  are  believed  to 
control  the  weather,  and  these  aborigines  "pray  to  wind  and 
rain :  '  Calm  down,  breath  of  the  twins ' "  (403.  51). 

In  the  creation-legend  of  the  Indians  of  Mt.  Shasta  (Cali- 
fornia), we  are  told  that  once  a  terrific  storm  came  up  from  the 

308  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

sea  and  shook  to  its  base  the  wigwam,  —  Mt.  Shasta  itself, — 
in  which  lived  the  "  Great  Spirit "  and  his  family.  Then  "  The 
'Great  Spirit'  commanded  his  daughter,  little  more  than  an 
infant,  to  go  up  and  bid  the  wind  be  still,  cautioning  her  at  the 
same  time,  in  his  fatherly  way,  not  to  put  her  head  out  into  the 
blast,  but  only  to  thrust  out  her  little  red  arm  and  make  a  sign 
before  she  delivered  her  message."  But  the  temptation  to  look 
out  on  the  world  was  too  strong  for  her,  and,  as  a  result,  she  was 
caught  up  by  the  storm  and  blown  down  the  mountain-side  into 
the  land  of  the  grizzly-bear  people.  From  the  union  of  the 
daughter  and  the  grizzly-bear  people  sprang  a  new  race  of  men. 
When  the  "  Great  Spirit "  was  told  his  daughter  still  lived,  he 
ran  down  the  mountain  for  joy,  but  finding  that  his  daughter  had 
become  a  mother,  he  was  so  angry  that  he  cursed  the  grizzly- 
people  and  turned  them  into  the  present  race  of  bears  of  that 
species;  them  and  the  new  race  of  men  he  drove  out  of  their 
wigwam,  —  Little  Mt.  Shasta,  —  then  "shut  to  the  door,  and 
passed  away  to  his  mountains,  carrying  his  daughter ;  and  her  or 
him  no  eye  has  since  seen."  Hence  it  is  that  "  no  Indian  trac- 
ing his  descent  from  the  spirit  mother  and  the  grizzly,  will  kill  a 
grizzly-bear ;  and  if  by  an  evil  chance  a  grizzly  kill  a  man  in  any 
place,  that  spot  becomes  memorable,  and  every  one  that  passes 
casts  a  stone  there  till  a  great  pile  is  thrown  up  "  (396.  III.  91). 

Here  the  weather-maker  touches  upon  deity  and  humanity  at 


The  Child  as  Healer  A^^)  Physician. 

Fingnnt  se  medicos  quivis  idiota,  sacerdos,  ludseiis,  monachus,  histrio,  rasor, 
anus.  [Any  unskilled  person,  priest,  Jew,  monk,  actor,  barber,  old  woman,  turns 
himself  into  a  physician.]  —  Medical  Proverb. 

The  Cliild  as  Healer  and  Physician. 

Though  Dr.  Max  Bartels'  (397)  recent  treatise  —  the  best  book 
tbat  has  yet  appeared  on  the  subject  of  primitive  medicine  — 
has  no  chapter  consecrated  to  the  child  as  healer  and  physician, 
and  Mr.  Black's  Folk-Medicine  (401)  contains  but  a  few  items 
under  the  rubric  of  personal  cures,  it  is  evident  from  data  in 
these  two  works,  and  in  many  other  scattered  sources,  that  the 
child  has  played  a  not  unimportant  role  in  the  history  of  folk- 
medicine.  Among  certain  primitive  peoples  the  healing  art 
descends  by  inheritance,  and  in  various  parts  of  the  world  unbap- 
tized  children,  illegitimate  children,  and  children  born  out  of  due 
time  and  season,  or  deformed  in  some  way,  have  been  credited 
with  special  curative  powers,  or  looked  upon  as  "  doctors  bom." 

In  Spain,  to  kiss  an  unbaptized  child  before  any  one  else  has 
done  so,  is  a  panacea  against  toothache  (258.  100).  In  north- 
eastern Scotland,  "  a  seventh  son,  without  a  daughter,  if  worms 
were  put  into  his  hand  before  baptism,  had  the  power  of  healing 
the  disease  (ring-worm)  simply  by  rubbing  the  affected  part  with 
his  hand.  The  common  belief  about  such  a  son  was  that  he  was 
a  doctor  by  nature  "  (246.  47).  In  Ireland,  the  healing  powers 
are  acqvured  "  if  his  hand  has,  before  it  has  touched  anything  for 
himself,  been  touched  with  his  future  medium  of  cure.  Thus,  if 
silver  is  to  be  the  charm,  a  sixpence,  or  a  three-penny  piece,  is 
put  into  his  hand,  or  meal,  salt,  or  his  father's  hair,  '  whatever 


310  The  Child  in  Folk- Thought. 

substance  a  seventh  son  rubs  with  must  be  worn  by  his  parents 
as  long  as  he  lives.' "  In  some  portions  of  Europe,  the  seventh 
son,  if  born  on  Easter  Eve,  was  able  to  cure  tertian  or  quartan 
fevers.  In  Germany,  "  if  a  woman  has  had  seven  sons  in  succes- 
sion, the  seventh  can  heal  all  manner  of  hurt,"  —  his  touch  is  also 
said  to  cure  wens  at  the  throat  (462.  III.  1152).  In  France,  the 
marcou,  or  seventh  son,  has  had  a  great  reputation ;  his  body  is 
said  to  be  marked  with  a  Jleur-de-lis,  and  the  cure  is  effected  by 
his  simply  breathing  upon  the  diseased  part,  or  by  allowing  the 
patient  to  touch  a  mark  on  his  body.  Bourke  calls  attention  to 
the  fact  that  among  the  Cherokee  Indians  of  the  southeastern 
United  States  is  this  same  belief  that  the  seventh  son  is  "a 
natural-born  prophet  with  the  gift  of  healing  by  touch"  (406. 
457).  In  France  similar  powers  have  also  been  attributed  to  the 
fifth  son.  The  seventh  son  of  a  seventh  son  is  still  more  famous, 
while  to  the  twenty-first  son,  born  without  the  intervention  of 
a  daughter,  prodigious  cures  are  ascribed. 

Nor  is  the  other  sex  entirely  neglected.  In  France  a  "  seventh 
daughter  "  was  believed  to  be  able  to  cure  chilblains  on  the  heels 
(462.  III.  1152),  and  in  England,  as  recently  as  1876,  the  seventh 
daughter  of  a  seventh  daughter  claimed  great  skill  as  an  herb- 

In  northeastern  Scotland,  "a  posthumous  child  was  believed 
to  possess  the  gift  of  curing  almost  any  disease  by  looking  on  the 
patient "  (246.  37),  and  in  Donegal,  Ireland,  the  peasants  "  wear 
a  lock  of  hair  from  a  posthumous  child,  to  guard  against  whoop- 
ing-cough," while  in  France,  such  a  child  was  believed  to  possess 
the  power  of  curing  wens,  and  a  child  that  has  never  known  its 
father  was  credited  with  ability  to  cure  swellings  and  to  drive 
away  tumours  (462.  III.  1152). 

Twins,  in  many  countries,  have  been  regarded  as  prodigies,  or 
as  endowed  with  unusual  powers.  In  Essex,  England,  "  a  '  left 
twin'  (i.e.  a  child  who  has  survived  its  fellow-twin)  is  thought 
to  have  the  power  of  curing  the  thrush  by  blowing  three  times 
into  the  patient's  mouth,  if  the  patient  is  of  the  opposite  sex" 
(469.  307).  Among  the  Kwakiutl  Indians  of  British  Columbia, 
twins  are  said  to  be  able  to  cure  disease  by  swinging  a  rattle,  and 
in  Liberia  (Africa)  they  are  thought  to  possess  great  healing 
powers,  for  which  reason  most  of  them  become  doctors  (397.  75). 

The  Child  as  Healer.  311 

In  Sweden,  "a  first-born  child  that  has  come  into  the  world 
with  teeth  can  cure  a  bad  bite."  In  Scotland,  "  those  who  were 
born  with  their  feet  first  possessed  great  power  to  heal  all  kinds 
of  sprains,  lumbago,  and  rheumatism,  either  by  rubbing  the 
afflicted  part,  or  by  trampling  on  it.  The  chief  virtue  lay  in  the 
feet"  (246.  45).  In  Cornwall,  England,  the  mother  of  such  a 
child  also  possessed  the  power  to  cure  rheumatism  by  trampling 
on  the  patients.  The  natives  of  the  island  of  Xias,  off  the  west- 
ern coast  of  Sumatra,  consider  children  born  with  their  feet  first 
specially  gifted  for  the  treatment  of  dislocations  (397.  75). 
Among  the  superstitions  prevalent  among  the  Mexicans  of  the 
Rio  Grande  region  in  Texas,  Captain  Bourke  mentions  the  belief : 
"  To  cure  rheumatism,  stroke  the  head  of  a  little  girl  three  times 

—  a  golden-haired  child  preferred"  (407.  139).  The  Jews  of 
Galicia  seek  to  cure  small-pox  by  rubbing  the  pustules  with  the 
tresses  of  a  girl,  and  think  that  the  scrofula  will  disappear  "  if  a 
Beclidr,  or  first-bom  son,  touches  it  with  his  thvmib  and  little 
finger  "  (392  (1893).  142). 

The  power  of  curing  scrofula  —  touching  for  the  "  King's  Evil " 

—  possessed  by  monarchs  of  other  days,  was  thought  to  be  hered- 
itary, and  seems  to  have  been  practised  by  them  at  a  tender  age. 
In  England  this  "  cure  "  was  in  vogue  from  the  time  of  Edward 
the  Confessor  until  1719,  when,  according  to  Brewer,  the  "  office  " 
disappeared  from  the  Prayer-book.  The  French  custom  dated 
back  to  Anne  of  Clovis  (a.d.  481).  In  the  year  of  his  coronation 
(1654  A.D.),  when  Louis  XV.  was  but  eleven  years  old,  he  is  said 
to  have  touched  over  two  thousand  sufferers  (191.  308). 

Blood  of  Children. 

In  the  dark  ages  the  blood  of  little  children  had  a  wide-spread 
reputation  for  its  medicinal  virtue.  The  idea  that  diseased  and 
withered  humanity,  having  failed  to  discover  the  fountain  of 
eternal  youth,  might  find  a  new  well-spring  of  life  in  bathing  in, 
or  being  sprinkled  with,  the  pure  blood  of  a  child  or  a  virgin, 
had  long  a  firm  hold  upon  the  minds  of  the  people.  Hartmann 
von  Aue's  story,  Der  arme  Heinrich,  and  a  score  of  similar  tales 
testify  of  the  folk-faith  in  the  regeneration  born  of  this  horrible 
baptism  —  a  survival  or  recrudescence  of  the  crassest  form  of  the 

312  Tie  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

doctrine  that  the  life  dwells  in  the  blood.  Stract,  in  his  valuable 
treatise  on  "Human  Blood,  in  Superstition  and  Ceremonial,"  de- 
votes a  brief  section  to  the  belief  in  the  cure  of  leprosy  by  means 
of  human  blood  (361.  20-24).  The  Targumic  gloss  on  Exodus  ii. 
23  —  the  paraphrase  known  as  the  Pseudo- Jonathan — explains 
"  that  the  king  of  Egypt,  suffering  from  leprosy,  ordered  the  first- 
born of  the  children  of  Israel  to  be  slain  that  he  might  bathe  in 
their  blood,"  and  the  Midrasch  Schemoth  Eabba  accounts  for  the 
lamentation  of  the  people  of  Israel  at  this  time,  from  the  fact 
that  the  Egyptian  magicians  had  told  the  king  that  there  was  no 
cure  for  this  loathsome  disease,  unless  every  evening  and  every 
morning  one  hundred  and  fifty  Jewish  children  were  slain  and 
the  monarch  bathed  twice  daily  in  their  blood.  Pliny  tells  us 
that  the  Egyptians  warmed  with  human  blood  the  seats  in  their 
baths  as  a  remedy  against  the  dreaded  leprosy. 

According  to  the  early  chroniclers,  Constantine  the  Great,  on 
account  of  his  persecution  of  the  Christians,  was  afilicted  with 
leprosy,  which  would  yield  neither  to  the  skill  of  native  nor  to 
that  of  foreign  physicians.  Finally,  the  priests  of  Jupiter  Capi- 
tolinus  recommended  a  bath  in  the  blood  of  children.  The  chil- 
dren were  gathered  together,  but  "the  lamentations  of  their 
mothers  so  affected  the  Emperor,  that  he  declared  his  intention 
of  suffering  the  foul  disease,  rather  than  be  the  cause  of  so  much 
woe  and  misery."  Afterwards  he  was  directed  in  a  dream  to 
Pope  Sylvester,  was  converted,  baptized  into  the  Church,  and 
restored  to  health  (361.  22). 

Other  instances  of  this  fearful  custom  are  mentioned  in  the 
stories  of  Percival  (in  the  history  of  the  Holy  Grail),  of  Giglan 
de  Galles  et  Geoff roy  de  Mayence,  and  the  wide-spread  tale  of 
Amicus  and  Amelius  and  its  variants,  Louis  and  Alexander, 
Engelhard  and  Engeltrut,  Oliver  and  Arthur,  etc.,  in  all  of  which 
one  of  the  friends  is  afflicted  with  leprosy,  but  is  cured  through 
the  devotion  of  the  other,  who  sacrifices  his  own  children  in  order 
to  obtain  the  blood  by  which  alone  his  friend  can  be  restored  to 
health.  Usually,  we  are  told,  God  rewards  his  fidelity  and  the 
children  are  restored  to  life. 

The  physicians  of  King  Richard  I.  of  England  are  said,  in 
one  of  the  fictions  which  grew  up  about  his  distinguished  per- 
sonality, to  have  utterly  failed  to  give  relief  to  the  monarch,  who 

The  Child  a«  Healer.  313 

was  suffering  from  leprosy.  At  last  a  celebrated  Jew,  after  ex- 
hausting his  skill  without  curing  the  monarch,  told  him  that  his 
one  chance  of  recovery  lay  in  bathing  in  the  fresh  blood  of  a  new- 
born child,  and  eating  its  heart  just  as  it  was  taken  out  of  the 
body.  That  the  king  adopted  this  horrible  remedy  we  are  left  to 
doubt,  but  of  Louis  XI.  of  France,  several  chroniclers  affirm  that 
he  went  even  farther  than  the  others,  and,  in  order  to  become 
rejuvenated,  drank  large  quantities  of  the  blood  of  young  children. 
In  all  these  cases  the  character  of  the  child  as  fetich  seems  to  be 
present,  and  the  virtues  ascribed  to  the  blood  drawn  from  chil- 
dren (not  always  killed)  belong  not  alone  to  medicine,  but  also  to 
primitive  religion  (361.  23). 

Even  the  dead  body  of  a  child  or  some  one  of  its  members  plays 
a  rdle  in  folk-medicine  in  many  parts  of  the  globe.  Grimm  cites 
from  a  document  of  1408  a.d.,  a  passage  recording  the  cure  of  a 
leper,  who  had  been  stroked  with  the  hand  of  a  still-born  (and, 
therefore,  sinless)  child,  which  had  been  rubbed  with  salve  (361. 
34).  In  Steiermark,  so  Dr.  Strack  informs  us,  "  a  favourite  cure 
for  birth-marks  is  to  touch  them  with  the  hand  of  a  dead  person, 
especially  of  a  child"  (361.  35).  Among  the  charges  made  by 
the  Chinese  against  the  foreigners,  who  are  so  anxious  to  enter 
their  dominions,  is  one  of  "kidnapping  and  buying  children  in 
order  to  make  charms  and  medicines  out  of  their  eyes,  hearts,  and 
other  portions  of  their  bodies."  This  belief  induced  the  riot  of 
June,  1870,  an  account  of  which  has  been  given  by  Baron  Htib- 
ner,  and  similar  incidents  occurred  in  1891  and  1892.  Somewhat 
the  same  charges  have  been  made  (in  1891,  for  example)  by  the 
natives  of  Madagascar  against  the  French  and  other  foreigners 
(361.  37). 


Among  many  primitive  peoples,  as  is  the  case  with  the  Zulus, 
Bechuana,  Japanese  (formerly),  Nez  Perces,  Cayuse,  Walla-Wallas, 
Wascos,  etc.,  the  office  of  "doctor"  is  hereditary,  and  is  often 
exercised  at  a  comparatively  early  age  (397.  275).  Dr.  Pitre  has 
recently  discussed  some  interesting  cases  in  this  connection  in 
modern  Italy  (322). 

Among  certain  Indian  tribes  of  the  Kocky  Mountain  region  of 
the  northwestern  United  States,  although  he   cannot  properly 

314  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

practise  his  art  tiiitil  he  reaches  manhood,  the  "  medicine-man " 
(here,  doctor)  begins  his  candidacy  in  his  eighth  or  tenth  year.  Of 
the  "wizards,"  or  "doctors"  of  the  Patagonians,  Falkner  says, 
that  they  "  are  selected  in  youth  for  supposed  qualifications,  es- 
pecially if  epileptic"  (406.  456).  While  among  the  Dieyerie  of 
South  Australia,  the  "  doctor "  is  not  allowed  to  practise  before 
having  been  circumcised,  or  to  enter  upon  the  duties  of  his  office 
before  completing  his  tenth  year,  those  young  people  become 
"doctors,"  who,  as  children,  "have  seen  the  devil,"  i.e.  have  seen 
in  a  troubled  dream  the  demon  Kutchie,  or  have  had  the  night- 
mare. The  belief  is,  that  in  this  way,  the  power  to  heal  has  been 
imparted  to  the  child  (397.  75).  Among  the  Yuki  Indians  of 
California,  "the  'poison-doctor'  is  the  most  important  member 
of  the  profession.  The  office  is  hereditary ;  a  little  child  is  pre- 
pared for  holding  it  by  being  poisoned  and  then  cured,  which,  in 
their  opinion,  renders  him  invulnerable  ever  afterward"  (519. 
131).  Among  the  Tunguses,  of  Siberian  Russia,  a  child  afflicted 
with  cramps  or  with  bleeding  at  the  nose  and  mouth,  is  declared 
by  an  old  shaman  ("  medicine-man,"  or  "  medicine-woman  ")  to  be 
called  to  the  profession,  and  is  then  termed  hudildon.  After  the 
child  has  completed  its  second  year,  it  is  taken  care  of  by  an  old 
shaman,  who  consecrates  it  with  various  ceremonies ;  from  this 
time  forth  it  is  called  jukejeren,  and  is  instructed  by  the  old  man 
in  the  mysteries  of  his  art  (482.  III.  105).  With  these  people 
also  the  female  shamans  have  the  assistance  of  boys  and  girls  to 
carry  their  implements  and  perform  other  like  services  (397.  66). 
An  excellent  account  of  shamanism  in  Siberia  and  European 
Russia  has  been  given  by  Professor  Mikhailovskii  (504),  of  Mos- 
cow,  who  gives  among  other  details  a  notice  of  the  kamlanie,  or 
spirit-ceremonial  of  a  young  shaman  belonging  to  one  of  the 
Turkish  tribes  of  the  Altai  Mountains  (504.  71).  Among  the 
Samoyeds  and  Ostiaks  of  Siberia,  "the  shamans  succeed  to 
the  post  by  inheritance  from  father  to  son "  (504.  86).  On  the 
death  of  a  shaman,  "his  son,  who  desires  to  have  power  over  the 
spirits,  makes  of  wood  an  image  of  the  dead  man's  hand,  and  by 
means  of  this  symbol  succeeds  to  his  father's  power.  Those  des- 
tined to  be  shamans  spend  their  youth  in  practices  which  irritate 
the  nervous  system  and  excite  the  imagination." 

Among  the  Buryats  of  southern  Siberia,  it  is  thought  that  "the 

The  Child  as  Eealer.  316 

dead  ancestors  who  were  shamans  choose  from  their  living  kins- 
folk a-boy  who  is  to  inherit  their  power.  This  child  is  marked  by 
signs ;  he  is  often  thoughtful,  fond  of  solitude,  a  seer  of  prophetic 
visions,  subject,  occasionally,  to  fits,  during  which  he  is  uncon- 
scious. The  Buryats  believe  that  at  such  a  time  the  boy's  soul 
is  with  the  spirits,  who  are  teaching  him ;  if  he  is  to  be  a  white 
shaman,  with  the  western  spirits ;  if  he  is  to  be  a  black  shaman, 
among  the  eastern  spirits."  Usually,  the  youth  does  not  enter 
upon  his  duties  until  he  has  reached  his  twentieth  year  (504.  87). 
The  tribes  of  the  Altai  believe  that  "  the  ability  to  shamanize 
is  inborn;  instruction  only  gives  a  knowledge  of  the  chants, 
prayers,  and  external  rites."  There  is  in  early  life  an  innate 
tendency  to  sickness  and  frenzy,  against  which,  we  are  told,  the 
elect  struggle  in  vain  (504.  90)  :  "  Those  who  have  the  shamanist 
sickness  endure  physical  torments ;  they  have  cramps  in  the  arms 
and  legs,  until  they  are  sent  to  a  kam  [shaman]  to  be  educated. 
The  tendency  is  hereditary;  a  kam  often  has  children  predis- 
posed to  attacks  of  illness.  If,  in  a  family  where  there  is  no 
shaman,  a  boy  or  a  girl  is  subject  to  fits,  the  Altaians  are  per- 
suaded that  one  of  its  ancestors  was  a  shaman.  A  kam  told 
Potanin  that  the  shamanist  passion  was  hereditary,  like  noble 
birth.  If  the  kam's  own  son  does  not  feel  any  inclination,  some 
one  of  the  nephews  is  sure  to  have  the  vocation.  There  are  cases 
of  men  becoming  shamans  at  their  own  wish,  but  these  kams  are 
much  less  powerful  than  those  born  to  the  profession."  Thus  the 
whole  training  of  the  kam  from  childhood  up  to  exercise  of  his 
official  duties  is  such  as  "  to  augment  his  innate  tendencies,  and 
make  him  an  abnormal  man,  unlike  his  fellows."  When  fidly 
qualified,  he  functions  as  "  priest,  physician,  wizard,  diviner." 


Of  the  childhood  of  Moses  Oriental  legend  has  much  to  say. 
One  story  teUs  how  the  daughter  of  Pharaoh,  a  leper,  was  healed 
as  she  stretched  out  her  hand  to  the  infant  whom  she  rescued  from 
the  waters  of  Nile.     Weil  thus  resumes  the  tale  (547. 122) :  — 

"  The  eldest  of  the  seven  princesses  first  discovered  the  little 
ark  and  carried  it  to  the  bank  to  open  it.  On  her  removing  the 
lid,  there  beamed  a  light  upon  her,  which  her  eyes  were  not  able 

316  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

to  endure.  She  cast  a  veil  over  Moses,  but  at  that  instant  her 
own  face,  which  hitherto  had  been  covered  with  scars  and  sores 
of  all  the  most  hideous  colours  imaginable,  shone  like  the  moon 
in  its  brightness  and  purity,  and  her  sisters  exclaimed  in  amaze- 
ment, '  By  what  means  hast  thou  been  so  suddenly  freed  from 
leprosy  ? '  '  By  the  miraculous  power  of  this  child,'  replied  the 
eldest.  The  glance  which  beamed  upon  me  when  I  beheld  it 
unveiled,  has  chased  away  the  impurity  of  my  body,  as  the  rising 
sun  scatters  the  gloom  of  night.'  The  six  sisters,  one  after  the 
other,  now  lifted  the  veil  from  Moses'  face,  and  they,  too,  became 
fair  as  if  they  had  been  formed  of  the  finest  silver.  The  eldest 
then  took  the  ark  upon  her  head,  and  carried  it  to  her  mother, 
Asia,  relating  to  her  in  how  miraculous  a  manner  both  she  and 
her  sisters  had  been  healed," 

We  also  learn  that  when  Moses  was  six  years  old,  being  teased 
by  Pharaoh  until  he  was  angry,  he  kicked  the  throne  over  so  that 
the  king  fell  and  injured  himself  so  that  he  bled  at  the  mouth 
and  nose.  The  intercession  of  Asia  and  the  seven  princesses 
seemed  vain,  and  the  king  was  about  to  thrust  Moses  through 
with  his  sword,  when  "  there  flew  a  white  cock  toward  the  king, 
and  cried:  'Pharaoh,  if  thou  spill  the  blood  of  this  child,  thy 
daughters  shall  be  more  leprous  than  before.'  Pharaoh  cast  a 
glance  upon  the  princesses;  and,  as  if  from  dread  and  fright, 
their  faces  were  already  suffused  with  a  ghastly  yellow,  he 
desisted  again  from  his  bloody  design  "  (547.  127). 


To  other  heroes,  kings,  saints,  the  power  to  heal  which  char- 
acterized their  years  of  discretion  is  often  ascribed  to  them  in 
childhood,  especially  where  and  when  it  happens  that  the  same 
individual  is  prophet,  priest,  and  king.  In  the  unnumbered  mir- 
acles of  the  Church  children  have  often  figured.  Lupellus,  in 
his  life  of  St.  Frodibert  (seventh  century  a.d.),  says :  "  When 
Prodibert  was  a  mere  child  he  cured  his  mother's  blindness,  as, 
in  the  fulness  of  love  and  pity,  he  kissed  her  darkened  eyes,  and 
signed  them  with  the  sign  of  the  cross.  Not  only  was  her  sight 
restored,  but  it  was  keener  than  ever  "  (191.  45).  Of  St.  Patrick 
(373-464  A.D.)  it  is  told :  "  On  the  day  of  his  baptism  he  gave 

The  Child  as  Healer.  317 

sigtt  to  a  man  born  blind ;  the  blind  man  took  bold  of  the  babe's 
hand,  and  with  it  made  on  the  ground  a  sign  of  the  cross." 
Another  account  makes  the  miracle  a  triple  one:  "A  blind  man, 
taking  hold  of  St.  Patrick's  right  hand,  guided  it  into  making  on 
the  ground  a  cross,  when  instantly  three  miracles  ensued :  (1)  A 
spring  of  water  bubbled  from  the  dry  ground ;  (2)  the  blind  man, 
bathing  his  eyes  with  this  water,  received  his  sight ;  and  (3)  the 
man,  who  before  could  neither  write  nor  read,  was  instantly 
inspired  with  both  these  gifts  "  (191.  237). 

Brewer  relates  other  instances  of  the  miraculous  power  of  the 
child-saint  from  the  lives  of  St.  Genevieve  (423-512,  a.d.),  St. 
Vitus,  who  at  the  age  of  twelve  caused  the  arms  and  legs  of  the 
Emperor  Aurelian  to  wither,  but  on  the  Emperor  owning  the 
greatness  of  God,  the  "child-magician,"  as  the  monarch  had 
termed  him,  made  Aurelian  whole  again ;  St.  Sampson  (565  a.d.), 
who  cured  a  fellow  schoolboy  of  a  deadly  serpent's  bite ;  Mari- 
anne de  Quito  (1618-1645  a.d.),  who  cured  herself  of  a  gangrened 
finger  (191.  442). 

In  his  interesting  chapters  on  Fairy  Birtlis  and  Human  Mid- 
wives,  IVIr.  Hartland  informs  us  that  young  girls  have  some- 
times been  called  upon  to  go  to  fairy-land  and  usher  into  the  world 
of  elves  some  little  sprite  about  to  be  born.  Instances  of  this  folk- 
belief  are  cited  from  Pomerania,  Swabia,  Silesia.  Rewards  and 
presents  are  given  the  maiden  on  her  return,  and  often  her  whole 
family  is  blest,  if  she  has  acted  well  (258.  37-92). 

Close,  indeed,  are  often  the  ties  between  the  saint  and  the 
physician ;  the  healer  of  the  soul  and  the  healer  of  the  body  are 
frequently  the  same.  Other  links  bind  the  doctor  to  the  hero 
and  to  the  god.  Of  ^sculapius,  the  great  son  of  Apollo,  exposed 
in  childhood  by  his  mother,  but  nurtured  by  the  goat  of  the  shep- 
herd Aresthanas,  and  guarded  by  his  dog,  when  he  grew  up  to 
manhood,  became  so  skilled  in  the  uses  of  herbs  and  other  medi- 
cines that  he  received  divine  honours  after  his  death  and  came  to 
be  looked  upon  as  the  inventor  of  medicine  as  well  as  god  of  the 
healing  art. 

Origin  of  the  Healing  Art. 

With  some  primitive  peoples  even  the  child  is  their  ^scula- 
pius,  at  once  human  and  divine,  hero  and  god.     An  Iroquois 

318  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

legend  recorded  by  Mrs.  Smith  attributes  to  a  boy  tbe  discovery 
of  witch-charms :  "  A  certain  boy  while  out  hunting  came  across 
a  beautiful  snake.  Taking  a  great  fancy  to  it,  he  caught  it  and 
cared  for  it,  feeding  it  on  birds,  etc.,  and  made  a  bark  bowl  in 
which  he  kept  it.  He  put  fibres,  down,  and  small  feathers  into 
the  water  with  the  snake,  and  soon  found  that  these  things  had 
become  living  beings.  From  this  fact  he  naturally  conjectured 
that  the  snake  was  endowed  with  supernatural  powers."  So  he 
went  on  experimenting,  and  discovered  many  of  the  virtues  of 
the  snake  water :  rubbing  it  on  his  eyes  would  make  him  see  in 
the  dark  and  see  hidden  things ;  pointing  his  finger,  after  having 
dipped  it  in  the  bowl,  at  any  one  would  bewitch  that  person ;  by 
using  it  in  certain  other  ways  he  could  become  like  a  snake, 
travel  very  fast,  even  become  invisible;  deadly  indeed  were 
arrows  dipped  in  this  liquid,  and  pointing  a  feather  so  dipped 
at  any  game-animal  would  cause  it  to  start  for  the  creature  and 
kill  it.  In  this  fashion  the  boy  learned  the  secret  art  of  witch- 
craft. Afterwards,  by  experimenting,  he  discovered,  among  the 
various  roots  and  herbs,  the  proper  antidotes  and  counteracting 
agents  (534.  G9,  70). 

In  his  detailed  account  of  the  medicine-society  of  the  Ojibwa, 
Dr.  Hoffman  tells  how  the  mysteries  of  the  "  Grand  Medicine " 
were  taught  to  the  Indians  by  the  Sun-spirit,  who  at  the  request 
of  the  great  Manido,  came  down  to  earth  and  dwelt  among  men 
in  the  form  of  a  little  boy,  raising  to  life  again  his  dead  play- 
mate, the  child  of  the  people  who  adopted  him.  After  his  mis- 
sion was  fulfilled,  he  "returned  to  his  kindred  spirits,  for  the 
Indians  would  have  no  need  to  fear  sickness,  as  they  now  pos- 
sessed the  Grand  Medicine  which  would  enable  them  to  live. 
He  also  said  that  his  spirit  could  bring  a  body  to  life  but  once, 
and  he  would  now  return  to  the  sun,  from  which  they  would  feel 
his  influence."  So  the  institution  of  "medicine"  among  the 
Ojibwa  is  called  Kwi-wi-sens'  we-di'-shi-tshi  ge-wi-mp,  "  Little-boy- 
his-work"(473.  172, 173). 

The  Child  as  Shaman  and  Prust. 

Nearer  the  gates  of  Paradise  than  we 

Oar  children  breathe  its  air,  its  angels  see ; 

And  when  they  pray,  God  hears  their  simple  prayer, 

Yea,  even  sheathes  his  sword,  in  judgment  bare.  —  R.  H.  Stoddard. 

The  youth,  who  daily  farther  from  the  east 

Most  travel,  still  is  nature's  priest. — Wordsworth. 

Priestly  Training. 

Instruction  in  the  priestly  art  in  Africa  begins  sometimes 
almost  at  birth.     Bastian  informs  us  (529.  58)  :  — 

"  Women  who  have  been  long  barren,  or  who  have  lost  their 
children,  are  wont  to  dedicate  to  the  service  of  the  fetich  the 
unborn  fruit  of  the  womb,  and  to  present  to  the  village  priest  the 
new-born  babe.  He  exercises  it,  at  an  early  age,  in  those  wild 
dances  with  deafening  drum-accompaniment,  by  means  of  which 
he  is  accustomed  to  gain  the  requisite  degree  of  spiritual  exalta^ 
tion ;  and  in  later  years  he  instructs  his  pupil  in  the  art  of  un- 
derstanding, while  his  frame  is  wracked  with  convulsions,  the 
inspirations  of  the  demon  and  of  giving  fitting  responses  to  ques- 
tions proposed." 

Of  the  one  sex  we  read  (529.  56)  :  — 

"  Every  year  the  priests  assemble  the  boys  who  are  entering 
the  state  of  puberty,  and  take  them  into  the  forest.  There  they 
settle  and  form  an  independent  commonwealth,  under  very  strict 
regulations,  however ;  and  every  offence  against  the  rules  is  sternly 
punished.  The  wound  given  in  circumcision  commonly  heals  in 
one  week,  yet  they  remain  in  the  woods  for  a  period  of  six  months, 
cut  off  from  all  intercourse  with  the  outside  world,  and  in  the 


320  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

meanwhile  each  receives  separate  instruction  how  to  prepare  his 
medicine-bag.  Forever  after,  each  one  is  mystically  united  with 
the  fetich  who  presides  over  his  life.  Even  their  nearest  relatives 
are  not  allowed  to  visit  the  boys  in  this  retreat ;  and  women  are 
threatened  with  the  severest  punishment  if  they  be  only  found  in 
the  neighbourhood  of  a  forest  containing  such  a  boy -colony.  When 
the  priest  declares  the  season  of  probation  at  an  end,  the  boys 
return  home  and  are  welcomed  back  with  great  rejoicings." 

Concerning  the  other,  Bosman,  as  reported  by  Schultze,  says 
that  among  the  negroes  of  Whida,  where  snake-worship  prevails 
(529.  80)  — 

"Every  year  the  priestesses,  armed  with  clubs,  go  about  the 
country,  picking  out  and  carrying  away  girls  of  from  eight  to 
twelve  years  of  age,  for  the  service  of  the  god.  These  children 
are  kindly  treated  and  instructed  in  songs  and  dances  in  majorem 
gloriam  of  his  snakeship.  In  due  time  they  are  consecrated  by 
tattooing  on  their  bodies  certain  figures,  especially  those  of  ser- 
pents. The  negroes  suppose  it  is  the  snake  himself  that  marks 
his  elect  thus.  Having  received  their  training  and  consecration, 
which  are  paid  for  by  the  parents  according  to  their  means,  the 
children  return  home ;  and  when  they  attain  their  majority  are 
espoused  to  the  Serpent." 

In  Ashanti,  according  to  Ellis,  the  children  of  a  priest  or  of  a 
priestess  "  are  not  ordinarily  educated  for  the  priestly  profession, 
one  generation  being  usually  passed  over  [a  curious  primitive 
recognition  of  the  idea  in  our  common  saying,  "genius  skips  a 
generation "],  and  the  grand-children  selected "  (438.  121).  At 
the  village  of  Suru  several  children  (male  and  female)  and  youths 
are  handed  over  to  the  priests  and  priestesses  to  be  instructed  in 
the  service  of  the  gods,  when  the  goddess  was  thought  to  be  of- 
fended, and  in  the  ceremonials  when  the  new  members  are  tested, 
youths  and  children  take  part,  smeared  all  over  with  white  (438. 

Among  the  natives  of  the  Andaman  Islands,  as  Mr.  Man  in- 
forms us,  sometimes  even  "a  young  boy  is  looked  upon  as  a 
coming  dko-parad-."  The  word  signifies  literally  "  dreamer,"  and 
such  individuals  are  "  credited  with  the  possession  of  supernat- 
ural powers,  such  as  second  sight "  (498.  28). 

Captain  Bourke,  in  his  detailed  account  of  the  "  medicine-men " 

The  Child  as  Shaman  and  Priest.  321 

of  the  Apaches,  speaking  of  the  Pueblos  Indians,  says :  "  While  I 
was  at  Tusayan,  in  1881,  I  heard  of  a  young  boy,  quite  a  child, 
who  was  looked  up  to  by  the  other  Indians,  and  on  special  occa- 
sions made  his  appearance  decked  out  in  much  native  finery  of 
beads  and  gewgaws,  but  the  exact  nature  of  his  duties  and  sup- 
posed responsibilities  could  not  be  ascertained."  He  seems  to 
have  been  a  young  "  medicine-man  "  (406.  4-56). 

Into  the  "medicine-society"  of  the  Delaware  Indians  "the 
boys  were  usually  initiated  at  the  age  of  twelve  or  fourteen 
years,  with  very  trying  ceremonies,  fasting,  want  of  sleep,  and 
other  tests  of  their  physical  and  mental  stamina."  Of  these 
same  aborigines  the  missionary  Brainerd  states :  "  Some  of  their 
diviners  (or  priests)  are  endowed  with  the  spirit  in  infancy; 
others  in  adult  age.  It  seems  not  to  depend  upon  their  own 
will,  nor  to  be  acquired  by  any  endeavours  of  the  person  who  is 
the  subject  of  it,  although  it  is  supposed  to  be  given  to  children 
sometimes  in  consequence  of  some  means  which  the  parents  use 
with  them  for  that  purpose  "  (516.  81). 

Among  the  Chippeway  (Ojibwa),  also,  children  are  permitted 
to  belong  to  the  "  Midewewin  or  *  Grand  Medicine  Society,' "  of 
which  Dr.  W.  J.  Hoffman  has  given  so  detailed  a  description  — 
Sikassige,  a  Chippeway  of  Mille  Lacs,  having  taken  his  "first 
degree"  at  ten  years  of  age  (473.  172). 

The  Angakok. 

Among  the  Eskimo  the  angakok,  or  shaman,  trains  his  child 
from  infancy  in  the  art  of  sorcery,  taking  him  upon  his  knee 
during  his  incantations  and  conjurations.  In  one  of  the  tales  in 
the  collection  of  Rink  we  read  (525.  276) :  "  A  great  angakok 
at  his  conjurations  always  used  to  talk  of  his  having  been  to 
Akilinek  [a  fabulous  land  beyond  the  ocean],  and  his  auditors 
fully  believed  him.  Once  he  forced  his  little  son  to  attend  his 
conjurations,  sitting  upon  his  knee.  The  boy,  who  was  horribly 
frightened,  said :  *  Lo !  what  is  it  I  see  ?  The  stars  are  dropping 
down  in  the  old  grave  on  yonder  hill.'  The  father  said :  *  When 
the  old  grave  is  shining  to  thee,  it  will  enlighten  thy  understand- 
ing.' When  the  boy  had  been  lying  in  his  lap  for  a  while,  he  again 
burst  out :  *  What  is  it  I  now  see  ?     The  bones  in  the  old  grave 


322  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

are  beginning  to  join  together.'  The  father  only  repeating  his 
last  words,  the  son  grew  obstinate  and  wanted  to  run  away,  but 
the  father  still  kept  hold  of  him.  Lastly,  the  ghost  from  the 
grave  came  out,  and  being  called  upon  by  the  angakok,  he  entered 
the  house  to  fetch  the  boy,  who  only  perceived  a  strong  smell  of 
maggots,  and  then  fainted  away.  On  recovering  his  senses,  he 
found  himself  in  the  grave  quite  naked,  and  when  he  arose  and 
looked  about,  his  nature  was  totally  altered  —  he  found  himself 
able  at  a  sight  to  survey  the  whole  country  to  the  farthest  north, 
and  nothing  was  concealed  from  him.  All  the  dwelling-places  of 
man  appeared  to  be  close  together,  side  by  side ;  and  on  looking 
at  the  sea,  he  saw  his  father's  tracks  stretching  across  to  Akilinek. 
When  going  down  to  the  house,  he  observed  his  clothes  flying 
through  the  air,  and  had  only  to  put  forth  his  hands  and  feet  to 
make  them  cover  his  body  again.  But  on  entering  the  house  he 
looked  exceedingly  pale,  because  of  the  great  angakok  wisdom  he 
had  acquired  down  in  the  old  grave.  After  he  had  become  an 
angakok  himself,  he  once  went  on  a  flight  to  Akilinek." 

Besides  this  interesting  account  of  an  angakok  seance,  the 
same  authority,  in  the  story  of  the  angakok  Tugtutsiak,  records 
the  following  (525.  324) :  "  Tugtutsiak  and  his  sister  were  a 
couple  of  orphans,  and  lived  in  a  great  house.  It  once  happened 
that  all  the  grown-up  people  went  away  berry-gathering,  leaving 
all  children  at  home.  Tugtutsiak,  who  happened  to  be  the  eldest 
of  them,  said :  '  Let  us  try  to  conjure  up  spirits ' ;  and  some  of 
them  proceeded  to  make  up  the  necessary  preparations,  while  he 
himself  undressed,  and  covered  the  door  with  his  jacket,  and 
closed  the  opening  at  the  sleeves  with  a  string.  He  now  com- 
menced the  invocation,  while  the  other  children  got  mortally 
frightened,  and  were  about  to  take  flight.  But  the  slabs  of  the 
floor  were  lifted  high  in  the  air,  and  rushed  after  them.  Tug- 
tutsiak would  have  followed  them,  but  felt  himself  sticking  fast 
to  the  floor,  and  could  not  get  loose  until  he  had  made  the  chil- 
dren come  back,  and  ordered  them  to  uncover  the  door,  and  open 
the  window,  on  which  it  again  became  light  in  the  room,  and  he 
was  enabled  to  get  up." 

Girls,  too,  among  the  Eskimo,  could  become  angakoks  or  sha^ 
mans.  Rink  tells  of  one  who  visited  the  under-world,  where  she 
received  presents,  but  these,  while  she  was  carrying  them  home, 

The  Child  as  Shaman  and  Priest.  323 

"were  wafted  out  of  her  hands,  and  flew  back  to  their  first 

Of  the  Pawnee  Indians,  Mr.  Grinnell  informs  us  that  the 
legend  of  their  wanderings  tells  of  a  boy  in  whose  possession  was 
the  sacred  "  medicine-bundle  "  of  the  tribe,  and  who  was  regarded 
as  the  oracle-interpreter  (480  (1893).  125). 


As  Dr.  Mackay  has  remarked,  in  all  the  woeful  annals  of  the 
witch-persecutions,  there  is  nothing  so  astounding  and  revolting 
as  the  burning  and  putting  to  death  of  mere  children  for  practis- 
ing the  arts  of  the  devil.  Against  innocents  of  both  sexes  count- 
ing no  more  than  t^n  or  twelve  years,  there  appear  on  the  records 
the  simple  but  significant  words  convicta  et  combusta  —  convicted 
and  burned.  Here  the  degradation  of  intellect  and  morals  reaches 
its  lowest  level ;  it  was  Satan  and  not  Jesus  who  bade  the  children 
come  unto  him ;  their  portion  was  the  kingdom  of  hell,  not  that 
of  heaven.  In  Wurzburg,  between  1627  and  1629,  no  fewer  than 
157  persons  suffered  death  for  witchcraft  (guilty  and  innocent), 
and  among  these  were  included  "  the  prettiest  girl  in  the  town  " ; 
two  mere  boys ;  a  wandering  boy  of  twelve ;  a  maiden  of  nine  and 
her  sister,  younger  in  years ;  two  boys  of  twelve ;  a  girl  of  fifteen ; 
a  boy  of  ten  and  a  boy  of  twelve ;  three  boys  of  from  ten  to  fif- 
teen years  of  age.  At  Lille,  in  1639,  a  whole  school  of  girls  — 
fifty  in  number  —  barely  escaped  burning  as  witches  (496  a.  II. 
266-287).  Everywhere  the  maddened,  deluded  people  made  sac- 
rifice of  their  dearest  and  holiest,  tainted,  they  thought,  with  the 
touch  of  the  evil  one  (496  a.  II.  285).  It  is  a  sad  comment  upon 
civilization  that  the  last  execution  for  witchcraft  in  England, 
which  took  place  in  1716,  was  that  of  "Mrs.  Hicks  and  her 
daughter,  a  child  nine  years  of  age,  who  were  hung  at  Hunting- 
don, for  *  selling  their  souls  to  the  devil ;  and  raising  a  storm,  by 
pulling  off  their  stockings  and  making  a  lather  of  soap ' "  (191. 

In  the  London  Times  for  Dec.  8,  1845,  appeared  the  following 
extract  from  the  Courier,  of  Inverness,  Scotland :  "  Our  Wick 
contemporary  gives  the  following  recent  instance  of  gross  igno- 
rance and  credulity :  *  Not  far  from  Louisburg  there  lives  a  girl 

324  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

who,  until  a  few  days  ago,  was  suspected  of  being  a  witch.  In 
order  to  cure  her  of  the  witchcraft,  a  neighbour  actually  put  her 
into  a  creed  half-filled  with  wood  and  shavings,  and  hung  her 
above  a  fire,  setting  the  shavings  in  a  blaze.  Fortunately  for  the 
child  and  himself,  she  was  not  injured,  and  it  is  said  that  the 
gift  of  sorcery  has  been  taken  away  from  her.  At  all  events, 
the  intelligent  neighbours  aver  that  she  is  not  half  so  witch-like 
in  appearance  since  she  was  singed  "  (408.  III.  14). 

Concerning  the  sect  of  the  Nagualists  or  "Magicians"  of 
Mexico  and  Central  America  Dr.  Brinton  tells  us  much  in  his 
interesting  little  book  (413).  These  sorcerers  recruited  their 
ranks  from  both  sexes,  and  "those  who  are  selected  to  become 
the  masters  of  these  arts  are  taught  from  early  childhood  how 
to  draAV  and  paint  these  characters  and  are  obliged  to  learn  by 
heart  the  formulas,  and  the  names  of  the  ancient  Nagualists, 
and  whatever  else  is  included  in  these  written  documents  "  (413. 

We  learn  that  "in  the  sacraments  of  Nagualism,  woman  was 
the  primate  and  hierophant,"  the  admission  of  the  female  sex  to 
the  most  exalted  positions  and  the  most  esoteric  degrees  being  a 
remarkable  feature  of  this  great  secret  society  (413.  33).  Indeed, 
Aztec  tradition,  like  that  of  Honduras,  speaks  of  an  ancient  sor- 
ceress, mother  of  the  occult  sciences,  and  some  of  the  legends  of 
the  Kagualists  trace  much  of  their  art  to  a  mighty  enchantress  of 
old  (413.  34). 

In  1713,  the  Tzendals  of  Chiapas  rose  in  insurrection  under  the 
American  Joan  of  Arc,  an  Indian  girl  about  twenty  years  of  age, 
whose  Spanish  name  was  Maria  Candelaria.  She  was  evidently 
a  leader  of  the  Nagualists,  and  after  the  failure  of  the  attempt  at 
revolution  disappeared  in  the  forest  and  was  no  more  heard  of 
(413.  35).  Dr.  Brinton  calls  attention  to  the  fact  that  Mr.  E.  G. 
Squier  reports  having  heard,  during  his  travels  in  Central  America, 
of  a  "  sukia  woman,  as  she  was  called  by  the  coast  Indians,  one 
who  lived  alone  amid  the  ruins  of  an  old  Maya  temple,  a  sorceress 
of  twenty  years,  loved  and  feared,  holding  death  and  life  in  her 
hands  "  (413.  36).  There  are  many  other  instances  of  a  like  nature 
showing  the  important  position  assigned  to  girls  and  young  women 
in  the  esoteric  rites,  secret  societies,  magic,  sorcery,  and  witch- 
craft of  primitive  peoples. 

The  Child  as  Shaman  and  Priest.  325 


A  curious  custom  attached  itself  to  the  day  of  St.  Nicholas, 
of  Patara  in  Lycia  (died  343  a.d.),  the  patron  saint  of  boys, 
after  whom  the  American  boys'  magazine  St.  Nicholas  is  aptly 
named.  Brewer,  in  his  Dictionary  of  Phrase  and  Fable,  has 
the  following  paragraph  concerning  the  "Boy-Bishop,"  as  he  is 
termed :  "  The  custom  of  choosing  a  boy  from  the  cathedral  choir, 
etc.,  on  St.  Nicholas  day  (6th  December),  as  a  mock  bishop  is 
very  ancient.  The  boy  possessed  episcopal  honour  for  three 
weeks,  and  the  rest  of  the  choir  were  his  prebends.  If  he  died 
during  the  time  of  his  prelacy,  he  was  buried  tn  pontijicalibus. 
Probably  the  reference  is  to  Jesus  Christ  sitting  in  the  Temple 
among  the  doctors  while  he  was  a  boy.  The  custom  was  abolished 
in  the  reign  of  Henry  Eighth"  (p.  110).  Brand  gives  many 
details  of  the  election  and  conduct  of  the  '•  Boy-Bishops,"  and  the 
custom  seems  to  have  been  in  vogue  in  almost  every  parish  and 
collegiate  church  (408.  I.  415-431).  Bishop  Hall  thus  expresses 
himself  on  the  subject :  "  What  merry  work  it  was  here  in  the 
days  of  our  holy  fathers  (and  I  know  not  whether,  in  some  places 
it  may  not  be  so  still),  that  upon  St.  Nicholas,  St.  Katherine, 
St.  Clement,  and  Holy  Innocents'  Day,  children  were  wont  to  be 
arrayed  in  chimers,  rochets,  surplices,  to  counterfeit  bishops  and 
priests,  and  to  be  led  with  songs  and  dances  from  house  to  house, 
blessing  the  people,  who  stood  grinning  in  the  way  to  expect  that 
ridiculous  benediction.  Yea,  that  boys  in  that  holy  sport  were 
wont  to  sing  masses,  and  to  climb  into  the  pulpit  to  preach  (no 
doubt  learnedly  and  edifyingly)  to  the  simple  auditory.  And  this 
was  so  really  done,  that  in  the  cathedral  church  of  Salisbury  (un- 
less it  be  lately  defaced)  there  is  a  perfect  monument  of  one  of 
these  Boy-Bishops  (who  died  in  the  time  of  his  yoimg  pontifi- 
cality),  accoutred  in  his  episcopal  robes,  still  to  be  seen.  A 
fashion  that  lasted  until  the  later  times  of  King  Henry  the 
Eighth,  who,  in  1541,  by  his  solemn  Proclamation,  printed  by 
Thomas  Bertlet,  the  king's  printer,  aim  privilegio,  straitly  forbad 
the  practice." 

When  King  Edward  First  was  on  his  way  to  Scotland,  in  1299, 
we  are  told,  "  he  permitted  one  of  these  Boy-Bishops  to  say  vespers 
before  him  in  his  Chapel  at  Heton,  near  Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 

326  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

and  made  a  considerable  present  to  the  said  bishop,  and  certain 
other  boys  that  came  and  sang  with  him  on  the  occasion,  on  the 
7th  of  December,  the  day  after  St.  Nicholas's  Day"  (408.  I.  422). 

The  records  of  the  churches  contain  many  particulars  of  the 
election,  duties,  and  regalia  of  these  boy -bishops,  whence  it  would 
appear  that  expense  and  ceremony  were  not  spared  on  these 

Another  boy-bishop  was  paid  "  thirteen  shillings  and  sixpence 
for  singing  before  King  Edward  the  Third,  in  his  chamber,  on  the 
day  of  the  Holy  Innocents  "  (408.  I.  428). 

The  Boy-Bishop  of  Salisbury,  whose  service  set  to  music  is 
printed  in  the  Processionale  et  usum  insignis  et  predare  Ecdesie 
Sarum,  1566,  is  actually  said  "  to  have  had  the  power  of  disposing 
of  such  prebends  there  as  happened  to  fall  vacant  during  the  days 
of  his  episcopacy  "  (408.  I.  424).  With  the  return  of  Catholicism 
under  Mary,  as  Brand  remarks,  the  Boy-Bishop  was  revived,  for 
we  find  an  edict  of  the  Bishop  of  London,  issued  Nov.  13, 
1554,  to  all  the  clergy  of  his  diocese,  to  the  effect  that  "  they 
should  have  a  Boy-Bishop  in  procession,"  and  Warton  notes  that 
"one  of  the  child-bishop's  songs,  as  it  was  sung  before  the  Queen's 
Majesty,  in  her  privy  chamber;  at  her  manor  of  St.  James  in  the 
Field's  on  St.  Nicholas's  Day,  and  Innocents'  Day,  1555,  by  the 
child-bishop  of  St.  Paul's,  with  his  company,  was  printed  that 
year  in  London,  containing  a  fulsome  panegyric  on  the  queen's 
devotions,  comparing  her  to  Judith,  Esther,  the  Queen  of  Sheba, 
and  the  Virgin  Mary  "  (408. 1.  429-430).  The  places  at  which  the 
ceremonies  of  the  Boy-Bishop  have  been  particularly  noted  are : 
Canterbury,  Eton,  St.  Paul's,  London,  Colchester,  Winchester, 
Salisbury,  Westminster,  Lambeth,  York,  Beverly,  Eotherham, 
Newcastle-upon-Tyne,  etc.  The  Boy-Bishop  was  known  also  in 
Spain  and  in  France ;  in  the  latter  covmtry  he  was  called  Pape- 
Colas.  In  Germany,  at  the  Council  of  Salzburg,  in  1274,  on  ac- 
count of  the  scandals  they  gave  rise  to,  the  ludi  noxii  quos  vulgaris 
eloquentia  Episcopatus  Puerorum  appellat,  were  placed  under  the 
ban  (408.  I.  426). 

It  would  appear  from  the  mention  of  "  children  strangely  decked 
and  apparelled  to  counterfeit  priests,  bishops,  and  women,"  that 
on  these  occasions  "divine  service  was  not  only  performed  by 
boys,  but  by  little  girls,"  and  "  there  is  an  injunction  given  to 

The  Child  as  Shaman  and  Priest.  827 

the  Benedictine  Nunnery  of  Godstowe  in  Oxfordshire,  by  Arch- 
bishop Peckham,  in  the  year  1278,  that  on  Innocents'  Day  the 
public  prayers  should  not  any  more  be  said  in  the  church  of  that 
monastery  per  parvulas,  i.e,  little  girls  "  (408.  I.  428). 

Though  with  the  Protestantism  of  Elizabeth  the  Boy-Bishop 
and  his  revels  were  put  down  by  the  authorities,  they  continued 
to  survive,  in  some  places  at  least,  the  end  of  her  reign.  Put- 
tenham,  in  his  Art  of  Poesie  (1589),  observes :  "  On  St.  Nicholas's 
night,  commonly,  the  scholars  of  the  country  make  them  a  bishop, 
who,  like  a  foolish  boy,  goeth  about  blessing  and  preaching  with 
such  childish  terms  as  make  the  people  laugh  at  his  foolish  coun- 
terfeit speeches"  (408.  427).  Brand  recognizes  in  the  iter  ad 
montem  of  the  scholars  at  Eton  the  remnants  of  the  ceremonies 
of  the  Boy-Bishop  and  his  associates  (408.  432);  and  indeed  a 
passage  which  he  cites  from  the  Status  Scholce  Etonensis  (1560) 
shows  that  "  in  the  Papal  times  the  Eton  scholars  (to  avoid  inter- 
fering, as  it  should  seem,  with  the  boy-bishop  of  the  college  there 
on  St  Nicholas's  Day)  elected  their  boy-bishop  on  St.  Hugh's 
Day,  in  the  month  of  November."  In  the  statutes  (1518)  of 
St.  Paul's  School,  we  meet  with  the  following :  *'  All  these  chil- 
dren shall  every  ChCdermas  Day  come  to  Pauli's  Church,  and 
hear  the  Child-bishop  sermon ;  and  after  he  be  at  the  high  mass, 
and  each  of  them  offer  a  Id.  to  the  Child-bishop,  and  with  them 
the  masters  and  surveyors  of  the  school."  Brand  quotes  Strype, 
the  author  of  the  Ecclesiastical  3femorials,  as  observing :  "  I  shall 
only  remark,  that  there  might  be  this  at  least  said  in  favour  of 
this  old  custom,  that  it  gave  a  spirit  to  the  children;  and  the 
hopes  that  they  might  one  time  or  other  attain  to  the  real  mitre 
made  them  mind  their  books." 

In  his  poem.  The  Boy  and  the  Angel,  Eobert  Browning  tells  how 
Theocrite,  the  boy -craftsman,  sweetly  praised  God  amid  his  weary 
toil.  On  Easter  Day  he  wished  he  might  praise  God  as  Pope, 
and  the  angel  Gabriel  took  the  boy's  place  in  the  workshop, 
while  the  latter  became  Pope  in  Eome.  But  the  new  Pope 
sickened  of  the  change,  and  God  himself  missed  the  welcome 
praise  of  the  happy  boy.  So  back  went  the  Pope  to  the  work- 
shop and  boyhood,  and  praise  rose  up  to  God  as  of  old.  Some- 
what different  from  the  poet's  story  is  the  tale  of  the  lama  of 
Tibet,  a  real  boy -pope.     The  Grand  Lama,  or  Pope,  is  looked 

328  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

upon  as  an  incarnation  of  Buddha  and  as  immortal,  never  suffer- 
ing death,  but  merely  transmigration  (100.  499). 

Among  various  peoples,  the  child  has  occupied  all  sacerdotal 
positions  from  acolyte  to  pope  —  priest  he  has  been,  not  in  bar- 
barism alone,  but  in  the  midst  of  culture  and  civilization,  where 
often  the  jest  begun  has  ended  in  sober  earnest.  In  the  ecclesi- 
astical, as  well  as  in  the  secular,  kingdom,  the  child  has  often  come 
to  his  throne  when  "  young  in  years,  but  in  sage  counsel  old." 


The  Child  as  Hero,  Adventueeb,  Etc. 

O  wonderfol  son,  that  can  so  astonish  a  mother  ' — Shakespeare, 

Who  can  foretell  for  what  high  cause 

This  Darling  of  the  Gods  was  bom  ?  —  MarveU, 

The  haaghty  eye  shall  seek  in  vain 

What  innocence  beholds : 
Ko  cunning  finds  the  keys  of  heaven. 

No  strength  its  gate  unfolds. 

Alone  to  guilelessness  and  lore 

That  gate  shall  open  fall ; 
The  mind  of  pride  is  nothingness, 

The  childlike  heart  is  all.  —  Whittier. 

Caklyle  has  said :  "  The  History  of  the  World  is  the  Biograr 
phy  of  Great  Men."  He  might  have  added,  that  in  primitive 
times  much  of  the  History  of  the  World  is  the  Biography  of 
Great  Children.  Andrew  Lang,  in  his  edition  of  Perrault's 
Tales,  speaking  of  Le  Petit  Poxicet  (Hop  o'  My  Thumb),  says: 
"  While  these  main  incidents  of  Hop  o'  My  Thumb  are  so  widely 
current,  the  general  idea  of  a  small  and  tricksy  being  is  found 
frequently,  from  the  Hermes  of  the  Homeric  Hymn  to  the 
Namaqua  Heitsi  Eibib,  the  other  Poiicet,  or  Tom  Thumb,  and 
the  Zulu  Uhlakanyana.  Extraordinary  precocity,  even  from  the 
day  of  birth,  distinguishes  these  beings  (as  Indra  and  Hermes)  in 
myth.  In  Mdrchen,  it  is  rather  their  smallness  and  astuteness 
than  their  youth  that  commands  admiration,  though  they  are 
often  very  precocious.  The  general  sense  of  the  humour  of 
'infant  prodigies'  is  perhaps  the  origin  of  these  romances" 
(p.  ex.). 


830  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

This  world-homage  to  childhood  finds  apt  expression  in  the 
verses  of  Mrs.  Darmesteter :  — 

"  Laying  at  the  children's  feet 
Each  his  kingly  crown, 
Each,  the  conquering  power  to  greet, 

Laying  humbly  down 
Sword  and  sceptre  as  is  meet." 

All  over  the  globe  we  find  wonder-tales  of  childhood,  stories  of 
the  great  deeds  of  children,  whose  venturesomeness  has  saved 
whole  communities  from  destruction,  whose  heroism  has  rid  the 
world  of  giants  and  monsters  of  every  sort,  whose  daring  travels 
and  excursions  into  lands  or  skies  unknown  have  resulted  in 
the  great  increase  of  human  knowledge  and  the  advancement  of 
culture  and  civilization.  In  almost  all  departments  of  life  the 
child-hero  has  left  his  mark,  and  there  is  much  to  tell  of  his 
wonderful  achievements. 

Finnish  Child- Heroes. 

In  Finnish  story  we  meet  with  Pikku  mies,  the  dwarf-god,  and 
in  Altaic  legend  the  child  Kan  Pudai,  who  was  fed  upon  two  hun- 
dred hares,  who  tames  wild  animals,  makes  himself  a  bow  and 
bow-string,  and  becomes  a  mighty  hero.  In  Esthonian  folk-lore 
we  have  the  tale  of  the  seven-year-old  wise  girl,  the  persecution 
to  which  she  was  subjected  at  the  hands  of  her  stepmother,  and 
the  great  deeds  she  accomplished  (422.  II.  144,  147,  154).  But, 
outside  of  the  wonderful  infancy  of  Wainamoinen,  the  culture- 
hero  of  the  Finns,  whom  the  Kalevala  has  immortalized,  we  find 
some  striking  tributes  to  the  child-spirit.  In  the  closing  canto  of 
this  great  epic,  which,  according  to  Andrew  Lang,  tells,  in  savage 
fashion,  the  story  of  the  introduction  of  Christianity,  we  learn 
how  the  maiden  Marjatta,  "as  pure  as  the  dew  is,  as  holy  as 
stars  are  that  live  without  stain,"  was  feeding  her  flocks  and  lis- 
tening to  the  singing  of  the  golden  cuckoo,  when  a  berry  fell  into 
her  bosom,  and  she  conceived  and  bore  a  son,  whereupon  the 
people  despised  and  rejected  her.  Moreover,  no  one  would  bap- 
tize the  infant :  "  The  god  of  the  wilderness  refused,  and  WainO- 
moinen  would  have  had  the  young  child  slain.  Then  the  infant 
rebuked  the  ancient  demi-god,  who  fled  in  anger  to  the  sea."    As 

Tlie  Child  as  Hero^  Adventurer.  331 

Wainamoinen  was  borne  away  in  his  magic  barque  by  the  tide,  he 
lifted  up  his  voice  and  sang  how  when  men  should  have  need  of 
him  they  would  look  for  his  return,  "  bringing  back  sunlight  and 
moonshine,  and  the  joy  that  is  vanished  from  the  world."  Thus 
did  the  rebuke  of  the  babe  close  the  reign  of  the  demi-gods  of 
old  (484  171-177). 


On  the  other  hand,  it  is  owing  to  a  child,  says  a  sweet  Italian 
legend,  that  "the  gates  of  heaven  are  forever  ajar."  A  little  girl- 
angel,  up  in  heaven,  sat  grief-stricken  beside  the  gate,  and  begged 
tKe  celestial  warder  to  set  the  gates  ajar :  — 

"  I  can  hear  my  mother  weeping ; 
She  is  lonely  ;  she  cannot  see 
A  glimmer  of  light  in  the  darkness, 
Where  the  gates  shut  after  me. 
Oh  !  turn  the  key,  sweet  angel, 
The  splendoor  will  shine  so  far ! " 

But  the  angel  at  the  gate  dared  not,  and  the  childish  appeal 
seemed  vain  until  the  mother  of  Jesus  touched  his  hand,  when, 
lo!  "in  the  little  child-angel's  fingers  stood  the  beautiful  gates 
ajar."  And  they  have  been  so  ever  since,  for  Mary  gave  to 
Christ  the  keys,  which  he  has  kept  safe  hidden  in  his  bosom,  that 
every  sorrowing  mother  may  catch  a  glimpse  of  the  glory  afar 
(379.  28-30). 

Persian  DeedrMdiden. 

I  fatti  sono  mascM,  le  parole  femmine,  —  deeds  are  masculine, 
words  feminine,  —  says  the  Italian  proverb.  The  same  thought  is 
found  in  several  of  our  own  writers.  George  Herbert  said  bluntly : 
"Words  are  women,  deeds  are  men";  Dr.  Madden:  "Words  are 
men's  daughters,  but  God's  sons  are  things";  Dr.  Johnson,  in 
the  preface  to  his  great  dictionary,  embodies  the  saying  of  the 
Hindus :  "  Words  are  the  daughters  of  earth,  things  are  the  sons 
of  heaven." 

In  compensation  for  so  ungracious  a  distinction,  perhaps,  the 
religion  of  Zoroaster,  the  ancient  faith  of  Persia,  teaches  that,  on 
the  other  side  of  death,  the  soul  is  received  by  its  good  deeds  in 
the  form  of  a  beautiful  maiden  who  conducts  it  through  the 

332  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

three  heavens  to  Ahura  (the  deity  of  good),  and  it  is  refreshed 
with  celestial  food  (470.  II.  421).  That  children  should  be 
brought  into  close  relationship  with  the  stars  and  other  celestial 
bodies  is  to  be  expected  from  the  milieu  of  folk-life,  and  the  feel- 
ing of  kinship  with  all  the  phenomena  of  nature. 

Moon-  Children. 

In  his  exhaustive  essay  on  Moon  Lore,  Eev.  Mr.  Harley  tells  us 
that  in  the  Scandinavian  mythology,  M§,ni,  the  moon,  "  once  took 
up  two  children  from  the  earth.  Bill  and  Hiuki,  as  they  were 
going  from  the  well  of  Byrgir,  bearing  on  their  shoulders  the 
bucket  Soeg,  and  the  pole  Simul,"  and  placed  them  in  the  moon, 
"  where  they  could  be  seen  from  the  earth."  The  modern  Swedish 
folk-lore  represents  the  spots  on  the  moon  as  two  children  carry- 
ing water  in  a  bucket,  and  it  is  this  version  of  the  old  legend 
which  Miss  Humphrey  has  translated  (468.  24-26).  Mr.  Harley 
cites,  with  approval.  Rev.  S.  Baring-Gould's  identification  of 
Hiuki  and  Bill,  the  two  moon-children,  with  the  Jack  and  Jill 
of  the  familiar  nursery  rhyme :  — 

"Jack  and  Jill  went  up  the  hill, 
To  fetch  a  pail  of  water  ; 
Jack  fell  down  and  broke  his  crown, 
And  Jill  came  tumbling  after." 

According  to  Mr.  Duncan,  the  well-known  missionary  to  certain 
of  the  native  tribes  of  British  Columbia,  these  Indians  of  the  far 
west  have  a  version  of  this  legend :  "  One  night  a  child  of  the 
chief  class  awoke  and  cried  for  water.  Its  cries  were  very 
affecting  —  'Mother,  give  me  to  drink!'  but  the  mother  heeded 
not.  The  moon  was  affected  and  came  down,  entered  the  house, 
and  approached  the  child,  saying,  'Here  is  water  from  heaven: 
drink.'  The  child  anxiously  laid  hold  of  the  pot  and  drank  the 
draught,  and  was  enticed  to  go  away  with  the  moon,  its  bene- 
factor. They  took  an  underground  passage  till  they  got  quite 
clear  of  the  village,  and  then  ascended  to  heaven  "  (468.  35,  36). 
The  story  goes  on  to  say  that  "  the  figure  we  now  see  in  the  moon 
is  that  very  child ;  and  also  the  little  round  basket  which  it  had 
in  its  hand  when  it  went  to  sleep  appears  there." 

The  Child  as  Hero^  Adventurer.  333 

The  Eev.  George  Turner  reports  a  Polynesian  myth  from  the 
Samoan  Islands,  in  which  the  moon  is  represented  as  coming 
down  -one  evening  and  picking  up  a  woman  and  her  child,  who 
was  beating  out  bark  in  order  to  make  some  of  the  native  cloth. 
There  was  a  famine  in  the  land;  and  "the  moon  was  just  rising, 
and  it  reminded  her  of  a  great  bread-fruit.  Looking  up  to  it,  she 
said,  '  Why  cannot  you  come  down  and  let  my  child  have  a  bit  of 
you  ? '  The  moon  was  indignant  at  the  idea  of  being  eaten,  came 
down  forthwith,  and  took  her  up,  child,  board,  mallet,  and  all." 
To  this  day  the  Samoans,  looking  at  the  moon,  exclaim :  "  Yonder 
is  Sina  and  her  child,  and  her  mallet  and  board."  Related  myths 
are  foimd  in  the  Tonga  Islands  and  the  Hervey  Archipelago 
(468.  59). 

The  Eskimo  of  Greenland  believed  that  the  sun  and  the  moon 
were  originally  human  beings,  brother  and  sister.  The  story  is 
that  "they  were  playing  with  others  at  children's  games  in  the 
dark,  when  Molina,  being  teased  in  a  shameful  manner  by  her 
brother  Anninga,  smeared  her  hands  -v^dth  the  soot  of  the  lamp, 
and  rubbed  them  over  the  face  and  hands  of  her  persecutor,  that 
she  might  recognize  him  by  daylight.  Hence  arise  the  spots  in 
the  moon.  Molina  rushed  to  save  herself  by  flight,  but  her 
brother  followed  at  her  heels.  At  length  she  flew  upwards,  and 
became  the  sun.  Anninga  followed  her,  and  became  the  moon ; 
but  being  imable  to  mount  so  high  he  runs  continually  round  the 
sun  in  hopes  of  some  time  surprising  her"  (468.  34). 

There  are  many  variants  of  this  legend  in  North  and  in 
Central  America. 

In  her  little  poem  TJie  Children  in  the  Moon,  Miss  Humphrey 
has  versified  an  old  folk-belief  that  the  "tiny  cloudlets  flying 
across  the  moon's  shield  of  silver  "  are  a  little  lad  and  lass  with  a 
pole  across  their  shoulders,  at  the  end  of  which  is  swinging  a 
water-bucket.  These  children,  it  is  said,  used  to  wander  by 
moonlight  to  a  well  in  the  northward  on  summer  nights  to  get  a 
pail  of  water,  until  the  moon  snatched  them  up  and  "  set  them 
forever  in  the  middle  of  his  light,"  so  that  — 

"  C!hildren,  ay,  and  children's  children, 
Should  behold  my  babes  on  high ; 
And  my  babes  should  smile  forever, 
Calling  others  to  the  sky  1 " 

334  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

Thus  it  is  that  — 

"  Never  is  the  bucket  empty, 
Never  are  the  children  old, 
Ever  when  the  moon  is  shining 
We  the  children  may  behold"  (224.  23-25). 

In  Whittier's  Child  Life,  this  poem  is  given  as  "from  the 
Scandinavian,"  with  the  following  additional  stanzas :  — 

"  Ever  young  and  ever  little, 
Ever  sweet  and  ever  fair  ! 
When  thou  art  a  man,  my  darling, 
Still  the  children  will  be  there. 

"  Ever  young  and  ever  little, 

They  will  smile  when  thou  art  old ; 
When  thy  locks  are  thin  and  silver, 
Theirs  will  still  be  shining  gold. 

*'  They  will  haunt  thee  from  their  heaven, 
Softly  beckoning  down  the  gloom ; 
Smiling  in  eternal  sweetness 

On  thy  cradle,  on  thy  tomb  "  (379.  115-117). 

The  Andaman  Islanders  say  that  the  sun  is  the  wife  of  the 
moon,  and  the  stars  are  their  children  —  boys  and  girls  —  who 
go  to  sleep  during  the  day,  and  are  therefore  not  seen  of  men 
(498.  92).  The  sun  is  termed  chd-n-a  bo-do,  "Mother  Sun";  the 
moon,  mai-a  -o-gar,  "  Mr.  Moon "  (498.  59).  In  many  other 
mythologies  the  stars,  either  as  a  whole,  or  in  part,  figure  as 
children.  In  the  figurative  language  of  ancient  records  the 
patriarchs  are  promised  descendants  as  numerous  as  the  stars  of 
heaven,  and  in  the  Tshi  language  of  Western  Africa,  the  stars 
are  termed  woh-rabbah,  from  woh,  "  to  breed,  multiply,  be  fruit- 
ful," and  abbah,  "  children."  The  South  Australian  natives 
thought  the  stars  were  groups  of  children,  and  even  in  the  classic 
legends  of  Greece  and  Rome  more  than  one  child  left  earth  to 
shine  in  heaven  as  a  star. 

In  the  belief  of  the  natives  of  the  Hervey  Islands,  in  the  South 
Pacific,  the  double  star  /x^  and  /a^  Scorpii  is  a  brother  and  sister, 
twins,  who,  fleeing  from  a  scolding  mother,  leapt  up  into  the  sky. 
The  bright  stars  v  and  A  Scorpii  are  their  angry  parents  who 
follow  in  pursuit,  but  never  succeed  in  overtaking  their  runaway 

The  Child  as  HerOj  Adventurer.  335 

children,  who,  clinging  close  together,  —  for  they  were  very  fond  of 
each  other,  —  flee  on  and  on  through  the  blue  sky.  The  girl,  who 
is  the  elder,  is  called  Inseparable,  and  Mr.  Gill  tells  us  that  a 
native  preacher,  alluding  to  this  favourite  story,  declared,  with  a 
happy  turn  of  speech,  that  "  Christ  and  the  Christian  should  be 
like  these  twin  stars,  ever  linked  together,  come  life,  come  death," 
He  could  scarcely  have  chosen  a  more  appropriate  figure.  The 
older  faith  that  was  dying  lent  the  moral  of  its  story  to  point  the 
eloquence  of  the  new  (458.  40-43). 

Hindu  Child-Heroes. 

In  the  Rig-Yeda  we  have  the  story  of  the  three  brothers,  the 
youngest  of  whom,  Tritas,  is  quite  a  child,  but  accomplishes 
wonderful  things  and  evinces  more  than  human  knowledge ;  also 
the  tale  of  Vikramadityas,  the  wise  child  (422.  II.  136). 

In  the  interesting  collection  of  Bengalese  folk-tales  by  Rev. 
Lai  Behari  Day  we  find  much  that  touches  upon  childhood: 
The  story  of  the  "  Boy  whom  Seven  Mothers  Suckled,"  and  his 
wonderful  deeds  in  the  country  of  the  Rakshasis  (cannibals)  — 
how  he  obtained  the  bird  with  whose  life  was  bound  up  that  of 
the  wicked  queen,  and  so  brought  about  her  death ;  the  tale  of 
the  "  Boy  with  the  Moon  on  his  Forehead  "  —  how  he  rescued  the 
beautiful  Lady  Pushpavati  from  the  power  of  the  Rakshasis 
over-sea !     We  have  also  the  wonder-tales  of  Buddha. 

In  a  tale  of  the  Panjab,  noted  by  Temple  (542.  II.  xvi.),  "a 
couple  of  gods,  as  children,  eat  up  at  a  sitting  a  meal  meant  for 
250,000  people  " ;  and  in  a  Little  Russian  story  "  a  mother  had  a 
baby  of  extraordinary  habits.  When  alone,  he  jumped  out  of  the 
cradle,  no  longer  a  baby,  but  a  bearded  old  man,  gobbled  up  the 
food  out  of  the  store,  and  then  lay  do^vn  again  a  screeching 
babe."  He  was  finally  exorcised  (258.  119).  A  huge  appetite  is 
a  frequent  characteristic  of  changelings  in  fairy-stories  (258. 108). 

Japanese  Child-Heroes. 

The  hero  of  Japanese  boys  is  Kintaro,  the  "  Wild  Baby,"  the 
"  Golden  Darling."  Companionless  he  played  with  the  animals, 
put  his  arm  arovmd  their  necks,  and  rode  upon  their  backs.     Of 

336  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

him  we  are  told  .•  "  He  was  prince  of  the  forest ;  the  rabbits,  wild 
boars,  squirrels  and  pheasants  and  hawks,  were  his  servants  and 
messengers."  He  is  the  apotheosis  of  the  child  in  Japan,  "  the 
land  of  the  holy  gods,"  as  its  natives  proudly  termed  it  (245. 121). 
Another  boy -hero  is  Urashima,  who  visited  Elysium  in  a  fish- 
ing-boat. A  third  phenomenal  child  of  Japanese  story  is  "  Peach 
Darling,"  who,  while  yet  a  baby,  lifted  the  wash-tub  and  balanced 
the  kettle  on  his  head  (245.  62).  We  must  remember,  however, 
that  the  Japanese  call  their  beautiful  country  "the  land  of  the 
holy  gods,"  and  the  whole  nation  makes  claim  to  a  divine  ancestry. 
Visits  to  the  other  world,  the  elfin-land,  etc.,  are  found  all  over 
the  world. 


In  Germany  and  Austria  we  have  the  stories  of  (258.  140-160)  : 
The  girl  who  stole  the  serpent-king's  crown;  the  Pomeranian 
farmer's  boy  who,  after  quenching  his  thirst  with  the  brown  beer 
of  the  fairies,  tried  to  run  off  with  the  can  of  pure  silver  in  which 
it  was  contained  (in  a  Cornish  legend,  however,  the  farmer's  boy 
pockets  one  of  the  rich  silver  goblets  which  stood  on  the  tables  in 
the  palace  of  the  king  of  the  piskies,  or  fairies,  and  proves  the 
truth  of  the  story  he  has  afterwards  to  tell  by  producing  the 
goblet,  "which  remained  in  the  boy's  family  for  generations, 
though  unfortunately  it  is  no  longer  forthcoming  for  the  satis- 
faction of  those  who  may  still  be  sceptical."  A  like  origin  has 
been  suggested  for  the  celebrated  "  Luck  of  Edenhall,"  and  the 
"  Horn  of  Oldenburg,"  and  other  like  relics) ;  the  Carinthian  girl, 
who,  climbing  a  mountain  during  the  noon-hour,  entered  through 
a  door  in  the  rock,  and  remained  away  a  whole  year,  though  it 
seemed  but  a  little  while ;  the  baker's  boy  who  visited  the  lost 
Emperor  in  the  mountain  —  the  Barbarossa-Otto  legend ;  the 
baker's  daughter  of  Ruffach,  who  made  her  father  rich  by  selling 
bread  to  the  soldiers  in  a  great  subterranean  camp ;  the  girl  of 
Silesia,  who  is  admitted  into  a  cavern,  where  abides  a  buried 
army ;  and  many  more  of  a  similar  nature,  to  be  read  in  Grimm 
and  the  other  chroniclers  of  fairy-land  (258.  216,  217). 

Among  the  Danish  legends  of  kindred  type  we  find  the  tales 
of :  The  boy  who  ran  off  with  the  horn  out  of  which  an  elf- 
maiden  offered  him  a  drink,  and  would  not  return  it  until  she 


The  Child  as  Hero,  Adventurer.  337 

had  promised  to  bestow  upon  him  the  strength  of  twelve  men, 
with'  which,  unluckily,  went  also  the  appetite  of  twelve  men 
(258.  144). 


Among  the  "Welsh  tales  of  the  child  as  hero  and  adventurer 
are:  The  visit  of  Elidorus  (afterwards  a  priest),  when  twelve 
years  old,  to  the  undergroiind  country,  where  he  stole  a  golden 
ball,  which,  however,  the  pigmies  soon  recovered;  the  youths 
who  were  drawn  into  the  fairies'  ring  and  kept  dancing  for  a 
year  and  a  day  until  reduced  to  a  mere  skeleton ;  the  little  farm- 
er's son,  who  was  away  among  the  fairies  for  two  years,  though 
he  thought  he  had  been  absent  but  a  day ;  corresponding  is  the 
Breton  tale  of  the  girl  who  acts  as  godmother  to  a  fairy  child, 
and  remains  away  for  ten  long  years,  though  for  only  two  days 
in  her  own  mind  (258.  135, 136,  168, 170). 

Very  interesting  is  the  Breton  legend  of  the  youth  who  under- 
took to  take  a  letter  to  God,  —  Monsieur  le  Bon  Dieu, — in  Para- 
dise. When  he  reaches  Paradise,  he  gives  the  letter  to  St.  Peter, 
who  proceeds  to  deliver  it.  TThile  he  is  away,  the  youth,  notic- 
ing the  spectacles  on  the  table,  tries  them  on,  and  is  astonished 
at  the  wonders  he  sees,  and  still  more  at  the  information  given 
him  by  St.  Peter  on  his  return,  that  he  has  been  gazing  through 
them  five  hundred  years.  Another  hundred  years  he  passes  in 
looking  at  the  seat  kept  for  him  in  Paradise,  and  then  receives 
the  answer  to  the  letter,  which  he  is  to  take  to  the  parish  priest. 
After  distributing  in  alms  the  hundred  crowns  he  is  paid  for  his 
services,  he  dies  and  goes  to  Paradise  to  occupy  the  seat  he  has 
seen.  As  Mr.  Hartland  remarks,  *'  the  variants  of  this  traditional 
PUgrim's  Progress  are  known  from  Brittany  to  Transylvania, 
and  from  Iceland  to  Sicily  "  (258.  192). 


A  remarkable  child-hero  tale  is  the  Basque  legend  of  the 
orphans,  Izar  (seven  years  old)  and  Lanoa  (nine  years  old),  and 
their  adventures  with  Satan  and  the  witches, — how  Izar  cured 
the  Princess  and  killed  the  great  toad  which  was  the  cause  of  her 
complaint,  and  how  Lanoa  defied  Satan  to  his  face,  meeting  death 
by  his  action,  but  gaining  heaven  (505.  19-41). 

338  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

American  Indian  Child-Heroes. 

In  a  legend  of  tlie  Tlingit  Indians  concerning  the  visit  of 
Ky'itlac',  a  man  who  had  killed  himself,  to  the  upper  country- 
ruled  by  Tahit,  whither  go  such  as  die  a  violent  death,  we  read 
that  — 

"  When  he  looked  down  upon  the  earth,  he  saw  the  tops  of  the 
trees  looking  like  so  many  pins.  But  he  wished  to  return  to  the 
earth.  He  pulled  his  blanket  over  his  head  and  flung  himself 
down.  He  arrived  at  the  earth  unhurt,  and  found  himself  at  the 
foot  of  some  trees.  Soon  he  discovered  a  small  house,  the  door  of 
which  was  covered  with  mats.  He  peeped  into  it,  and  heard  a 
child  crying  that  had  just  been  born.  He  himself  was  that  child, 
and  when  he  came  to  be  grown  up  he  told  the  people  of  Tahlt. 
They  had  heard  about  him  before,  but  only  then  they  learnt 
everything  about  the  upper  world  "  (403.  48,  49). 

In  a  legend  of  the  Kwakiutl  Indians  of  Vancouver  Island,  a 
chief  killed  by  a  rival  goes  to  the  other  world,  but  returns  to 
earth  in  his  grandson:  "It  was  Ank-oa'lagyilis  who  was  thus 
born  again.  The  boy,  when  a  few  years  old,  cried  and  wanted 
to  have  a  small  boat  made,  and,  when  he  had  got  it,  asked  for  a 
bow  and  arrows.  His  father  scolded  him  for  having  so  many 
wishes.  Then  the  boy  said,  *  I  was  at  one  time  your  father,  and 
have  returned  from  heaven.'  His  father  did  not  believe  him, 
but  then  the  boy  said,  '  You  know  that  Ank-oalagyilis  had  gone 
to  bury  his  property,  and  nobody  knows  where  it  is.  I  will  show 
it  to  you.'  He  took  his  father  right  to  the  place  where  it  lay 
hidden,  and  bade  him  distribute  it.  There  were  two  canoe-loads 
of  blankets.  Now  the  people  knew  that  Ank-oa'lagyilis  had 
returned.  He  said,  'I  was  with  ata  [the  deity],  but  he  sent 
me  back.'  They  asked  him  to  tell  about  heaven,  but  he  refused 
to  do  so."  The  boy  afterwards  became  a  chief,  and  it  is  said  he 
refused  to  take  revenge  upon  his  murderer  (404.  59). 

In  the  mythology  of  the  Siouan  tribes  we  meet  with  the  "  Young 
Eabbit,"  born  of  a  piece  of  the  clotted  blood  of  the  Buffalo  killed 
by  Grizzly  Bear,  which  the  Eabbit  had  stolen.  According  to 
legend  the  Eabbit  "addressed  the  blood,  calling  it  his  son,  and 
ordering  it  to  become  a  little  child,  and  when  he  had  ordered  it 
to  advance  from  infancy,  through  boyhood  to  youth,  and  from 


TTie  Child  as  Hero^  Adventurer.  339 

youth  to  manhood,  his  commands  were  obeyed."  The  "Young 
Kabbit "  kills  the  Grizzly  and  delivers  his  own  father  (480  (1892). 

The  legend  of  the  "  Blood-clot  Boy  "  is  also  recorded  from  the 
narration  of  the  Blackfeet  Indians  by  Rev.  John  MacLean  and 
Mr.  Grinnell.  The  tale  of  his  origin  is  as  follows :  "  There  lived, 
a  long  time  ago,  an  old  man  and  his  wife,  who  had  three  daugh- 
ters and  one  son-in-law.  One  day,  as  the  mother  was  cooking 
some  meat,  she  threw  a  clot  of  blood  into  the  pot  containing  the 
meat.  The  pot  began  to  boil,  and  then  there  issued  from  it  a 
peculiar  hissing  noise.  The  old  woman  looked  into  the  pot,  and 
was  surprised  to  see  that  the  blood-clot  had  become  transformed 
into  a  little  boy.  Quickly  he  grew,  and,  in  a  few  moments,  he 
sprang  from  the  pot,  a  full-grown  young  man."  Kutoyls,  as  the 
youth  was  named,  became  an  expert  hunter,  and  kept  the  family 
in  food.  He  also  killed  his  lazy  and  quarrelsome  brother-in-law, 
and  brought  peace  to  the  family.  Of  Kutoyls  it  is  said  he  "  sought 
to  drive  out  all  the  evil  in  the  world,  and  to  unite  the  people  and 
make  them  happy  "  (480  (1893).  167). 

Concerning  the  Micmac  Indians  of  Nova  Scotia,  Mr.  Eand 
informs  us  (521.  xlii.) :  — 

"Children  exposed  or  lost  by  their  parents  are  miraculously 
preserved.  They  grow  up  suddenly  to  manhood,  and  are  endowed 
with  superhuman  powers ;  they  become  the  avengers  of  the  guilty 
and  the  protectors  of  the  good.  They  drive  up  the  moose  and  the 
caribou  to  their  camps,  and  slaughter  them  at  their  leisure.  The 
elements  are  under  their  control ;  they  can  raise  the  wind,  con- 
jure up  storms  or  disperse  them,  make  it  hot  or  cold,  wet  or  dry, 
as  they  please.  They  can  multiply  the  smallest  amount  of  food 
indefinitely,  evade  the  subtlety  and  rage  of  their  enemies,  kill 
them  miraculously,  and  raise  their  slaughtered  friends  to  life." 

A  characteristic  legend  of  this  nature  is  the  story  of  Xoojek&- 
s!gunodaslt  and  the  "magic  dancing-doU."  NoojekSslgunodasIt, 
—  "the  sock  wringer  and  dryer,"  so-called  because,  being  the 
youngest  of  the  seven  sons  of  an  Indian  couple,  he  had  to  wring 
and  dry  the  moccasin-rags  of  his  elders,  —  was  so  persecuted 
by  the  eldest  of  his  brothers,  that  he  determined  to  run  away, 
and  "  requests  his  mother  to  make  him  a  small  bow  and  arrow  and 
thirty  pairs  of  moccasins."     He  starts  out  and  "  shoots  the  arrow 

340  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

ahead,  and  runs  after  it.  In  a  short  time  he  is  able  to  outrun  the 
arrow  and  reach  the  spot  where  it  is  to  fall  before  it  strikes  the 
ground.  He  then  takes  it  up  and  shoots  again,  and  flies  on 
swifter  than  the  arrow.  Thus  he  travels  straight  ahead,  and  by 
night  he  has  gone  a  long  distance  from  home."  His  brother 
starts  in  pursuit,  but,  after  a  hundred  days,  returns  home  dis- 
couraged. Meanwhile,  the  boy  travels  on  and  meets  a  very  old 
man,  who  tells  him  that  the  place  from  whence  he  came  is  a  long 
way  off,  for  "I  was  a  small  boy  when  I  started,  and  since  that 
day  I  have  never  halted,  and  you  see  that  now  I  am  very  old." 
The  boy  says,  however,  that  he  will  try  to  reach  the  place,  and, 
after  receiving  from  the  old  man  a  little  box  in  return  for  a  pair 
of  moccasins,  —  for  those  of  the  traveller  were  quite  worn  out,  — 
he  goes  his  way.  By  and  by  the  boy's  curiosity  leads  him  to  open 
the  box,  and 

"  As  soon  as  he  has  removed  the  cover,  he  starts  with  an  excla- 
mation of  surprise,  for  he  sees  a  small  image,  in  the  form  of  a 
man,  dancing  away  with  all  his  might,  and  reeking  with  perspi- 
ration from  the  long-continued  exertion.  As  soon  as  the  light 
is  let  in  upon  him,  he  stops  dancing,  looks  up  suddenly,  and 
exclaims,  '  Well,  what  is  it  ?  What  is  wanted  ? '  The  truth  now 
flashes  over  the  boy.  This  is  a  supernatural  agent,  a  mdnltoo, 
a  god,  from  the  spirit  world,  which  can  do  anything  that  he  is 
requested  to  do."  The  boy  wished  "to  be  transported  to  the 
place  from  whence  the  old  man  came,"  and,  closing  the  box, 
"suddenly  his  head  swims,  the  darkness  comes  over  him,  and 
he  faints.  When  he  recovers  he  finds  himself  near  a  large  Indian 
village."  By  the  aid  of  his  doll  —  weeddpcheejul,  "little  com- 
rade," he  calls  it  —  he  works  wonders,  and  obtains  one  of  the 
daughters  of  the  chief  as  his  wife,  and  ultimately  slays  his 
father-in-law,  who  is  a  great  "medicine-man."  This  story,  Mr. 
Kand  says  he  "  wrote  down  from  the  mouth  of  a  Micmac  Indian 
in  his  own  language " ;  it  will  bear  comparison  with  some  Euro- 
pean folk-tales  (521.  7-13). 

Another  story  of  boy  wonder-working,  with  some  European 
trappings,  however,  is  that  of  "  The  Boy  who  was  transformed 
into  a  Horse."  Of  this  wonderful  infant  it  is  related  that  "  at 
the  age  of  eighteen  months  the  child  was  able  to  talk,  and  imme- 
diately made  inquiries  about  his  elder  brother  [whom  his  father 

The  Child  as  Hero,  Adventurer.  341 

had  '  sold  to  the  devil '  ]."  The  child  then  declares  his  intention 
of  finding  his  lost  brother,  and,  aided  by  an  "  angel,"  —  this  tale 
is  strangely  hybrid,  —  discovers  him  in  the  form  of  a  horse, 
restores  him  to  his  natural  shape,  and  brings  him  safely  home ; 
but  changes  the  wicked  father  into  a  horse,  upon  whose  back  an 
evil  spirit  leaps  and  runs  off  with  him  (521.  31). 

Other  tales  of  boy  adventure  in  Dr.  Eand's  collection  are: 
"  The  History  of  Kitpooseagunow  "  [i.e.  "  taken  from  the  side  of 
his  mother,"  as  a  caK  of  a  moose  or  a  caribou  is  after  the  mother 
has  fallen]  (521.  62-80);  "The  Infant  Magician";  "The  Invis- 
ible Boy,"  who  could  change  himself  into  a  moose,  and  also 
become  invisible  (521.  101-109)  ;  "  The  Badger  and  his  Little 
Brother  "  (521.  263-269),  in  which  the  latter  helps  the  former 
decoy  the  water-fowl  to  destruction,  but,  repenting  at  the  wanton 
slaughter,  gives  the  alarm,  and  many  birds  escape ;  "  The  Little 
Boy  who  caught  a  Whale  "  (521.  280-281).  The  story  of  "  The 
Small  Baby  and  the  Big  Bird "  contains  many  naive  touches  of 
Indian  life.  The  hero  of  the  tale  is  a  foundling,  discovered  in 
the  forest  by  an  old  woman,  "  so  small  that  she  easily  hides  it  in 
her  mitten."  Having  no  milk  for  the  babe,  which  she  undertakes 
to  care  for,  the  woman  "  makes  a  sort  of  gruel  from  the  scrapings 
of  the  inside  of  raw-hide,  and  thus  supports  and  nourishes  it,  so 
that  it  thrives  and  does  well."  By  and  by  he  becomes  a  mighty 
hunter,  and  finally  kills  the  old  culloo  (giant  bird)  chief,  tames 
the  young  culloo,  and  discovers  his  parents  (521.  81-93). 

In  the  mythologic  tales  of  the  Iroquois,  the  child  appears  fre- 
quently as  a  hero  and  an  adventurer.  Mrs.  Erminnie  A.  Smith, 
in  treating  of  The  Myths  of  the  Iroquois  (534),  relates  the 
stories  of  the  infant  nursed  by  bears ;  the  boy  whom  his  grand- 
mother told  never  to  go  west,  but  who  at  last  started  off  in  that 
direction,  and  finally  killed  the  great  frog  (into  which  form  the 
man  who  had  been  tormenting  them  turned  himself)  ;  the  boy 
who,  after  interfering  with  his  uncle's  magic  wand  and  kettle, 
and  thereby  depriving  the  people  of  com,  set  out  and  managed 
to  return  home  with  plenty  of  corn,  which  he  had  pilfered  from 
the  witches  who  guarded  it,  —  all  interesting  child  exploits. 

Among  the  myths  of  the  Cherokees,  —  a  people  related  in 
speech  to  the  Iroquois,  —  as  reported  by  IMr.  James  Mooney,  we 
find  a  story  somewhat  similar  to  the  last  mentioned,  —  "  Kinatl 

342  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

and  Selu:  the  Origin  of  Corn  and  Game"  (506.  98-105),  the 
heroes  of  which  are  Indge  Utdsiihi,  "  He  who  grew  up  Wild,"  a 
wonderful  child,  born  of  the  blood  of  the  game  washed  in  the 
river;  and  the  little  son  of  KanatI  ("the  lucky  hunter")  and 
Selu  ("  Corn,"  his  wife),  his  playmate,  who  captures  him.  The 
"  Wild  Boy "  is  endowed  with  magic  powers,  and  leads  his 
"  brother "  into  all  sorts  of  mischief.  They  set  out  to  discover 
where  the  father  gets  all  the  game  he  brings  home,  and,  finding 
that  he  lifted  a  rock  on  the  side  of  a  mountain,  allowing  the 
animal  he  wished  to  come  forth,  they  imitated  him  some  days 
afterwards,  and  the  result  was  that  the  deer  escaped  from  the 
cave,  and  "  then  followed  droves  of  raccoons,  rabbits,  and  all  the 
other  four-footed  animals.  Last  came  great  flocks  of  turkeys, 
pigeons,  and  partridges."  From  their  childish  glee  and  tricksi- 
ness  the  animals  appear  to  have  suffered  somewhat,  for  we  are 
told  (506.  100) :  "  In  those  days  all  the  deer  had  their  tails  hang- 
ing down  like  other  animals,  but,  as  a  buck  was  running  past,  the 
'  wild  boy '  struck  its  tail  with  his  arrow,  so  that  it  stood  straight 
out  behind.  This  pleased  the  boys,  and  when  the  next  one  ran 
by,  the  other  brother  struck  his  tail  so  that  it  pointed  upward. 
The  boys  thought  this  was  good  sport,  and  when  the  next  one 
ran  past,  the  '  wild  boy '  struck  his  tail  so  that  it  stood  straight 
up,  and  his  brother  struck  the  next  one  so  hard  with  his  arrow 
that  the  deer's  tail  was  curled  over  his  back.  The  boys  thought 
this  was  very  pretty,  and  ever  since  the  deer  has  carried  his  tail 
over  his  back."  When  KanatI  discovered  what  had  occurred 
(506.  100),  "  he  was  furious,  but,  without  saying  a  word,  he  went 
down  into  the  cave  and  kicked  the  covers  off  four  jars  in  one 
corner,  when  out  swarmed  bedbugs,  fleas,  lice,  and  gnats,  and  got 
all  over  the  boys."  After  they  had  been  tortured  enough,  KanatI 
sent  them  home,  telling  them  that,  through  their  folly,  "  when- 
ever they  wanted  a  deer  to  eat  they  would  have  to  hunt  all  over 
the  woods  for  it,  and  then  may  be  not  find  one."  When  the  boys 
got  home,  discovering  that  Selu  was  a  witch,  they  killed  her  and 
dragged  her  body  about  a  large  piece  of  ground  in  front  of  the 
house,  and  wherever  the  blood  fell  Indian  corn  sprang  up.  KanatI 
then  tried  to  get  the  wolves  to  kill  the  two  boys,  but  they  trapped 
them  in  a  huge  pound,  and  burned  almost  all  of  them  to  death. 
Their  father  not  returning  from  his  visit  to  the  wolves,  the  boys 

The  Child  as  Rero^  Adventurer.  343 

set  out  in  search  of  him,  and,  after  some  days,  found  him.  After 
killing. a  fierce  panther  in  a  swamp,  and  exterminating  a  tribe  of 
cannibals,  who  sought  to  boil  the  "  wild  boy  "  in  a  pot,  they  kept 
on  and  soon  lost  sight  of  their  father.  At  "  the  end  of  the  world, 
where  the  sun  comes  out,"  they  waited  "  until  the  sky  went  up 
^ain  "  [in  Cherokee  cosmogony  "  the  earth  is  a  fiat  surface,  and 
the  sky  is  an  arch  of  solid  rock  suspended  above  it.  This  arch 
rises  and  falls  continually,  so  that  the  space  at  the  point  of  junc- 
ture is  constantly  opening  and  closing,  like  a  pair  of  scissors"], 
and  then  "  they  went  through  and  climbed  up  on  the  other  side." 
Here  they  met  KSnatl  and  Selu,  but,  after  staying  with  them 
seven  days,  had  to  "  go  toward  the  sunset  land,  where  they  are 
still  living." 

Dr.  G.  M.  Dawson  records,  from  the  Shushwap  Indians  of 
British  Columbia,  the  story  of  an  old  woman,  —  husbandless, 
childless,  companionless,  —  who,  *•  for  the  sake  of  companionship, 
procured  some  pitch  and  shaped  from  it  the  figure  of  a  girl, 
which  became  her  daughter,"  whom  many  adventures  befell  (425. 

There  is  a  very  interesting  Tahitian  myth  telling  of  the  descent 
of  little  Tavai  to  the  invisible  world.  Tavai  was  his  mother's 
pet,  and  one  day,  for  some  slight  fault,  was  beaten  by  the  rela- 
tives of  his  father.  This  made  Ouri,  his  mother,  so  angry,  that 
Oema,  her  husband,  out  of  shame,  went  down  to  Hawaii,  the 
under-world,  whither  Tavai,  accompanied  by  his  elder  brother, 
journeyed,  and,  after  many  adventures,  succeeded  in  bringing  to 
their  mother  the  bones  of  Oema,  who  had  long  been  dead  when 
they  found  him  (458.  250). 

Legion  in  number  and  world-wide  in  their  afl&liations  are  the 
stories  of  the  visits  of  children  and  youths,  boys  and  girls,  to 
heaven,  to  the  nether-world,  to  the  country  of  the  fairies,  and  to 
other  strange  and  far-off  lands,  inhabited  by  elves,  dwarfs,  pig- 
mies, giants,  "  black  spirits  and  white."  Countless  are  the  vari- 
ants of  the  familiar  tale  of  "Jack  and  the  Bean  Stalk,"  "Jack, 
the  Giant-Killer,"  and  many  another  favourite  of  the  nursery  and 
the  schoolroom.  Tylor,  Lang,  Clouston,  and  Hartland  have  col- 
lated and  interpreted  many  of  these,  and  the  books  of  fairy-tales 
and  kindred  lore  are  now  numbered  by  the  hundred,  as  may  be 
seen  from  the  list  given  by  Mr.  Hartland  in  the  appendix  to  his 

344  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

work  on  fairy-tales.  Grimm,  Andersen,  and  the  Arabian  Nights 
have  become  household  names. 

For  children  to  speak  before  they  are  born  is  a  phenomenon  of 
frequent  occurrence  in  the  lives  of  saints  and  the  myths  of  savage 
peoples,  especially  when  the  child  about  to  come  into  the  world  is 
an  incarnation  of  some  deity.  Of  Gluskap,  the  Micmac  culture- 
hero,  and  Malumsis,  the  Wolf,  his  bad  brother,  we  read  (488. 
15, 16) :  — 

"  Before  they  were  born,  the  babes  consulted  to  consider  how 
they  had  best  enter  the  world.  And  Glooskap  said :  '  I  will  be 
born  as  others  are.'  But  the  evil  Malumsis  thought  himself  too 
great  to  be  brought  forth  in  such  a  manner,  and  declared  that  he 
would  burst  through  his  mother's  side.  And,  as  they  planned  it, 
so  it  came  to  pass.  Glooskap  as  first  came  quietly  to  light,  while 
Malumsis  kept  his  word,  killing  his  mother."  Another  version 
of  the  same  story  runs ;  "  In  the  old  time,  far  before  men  knew 
themselves  in  the  light  before  the  sun,  Glooskap  and  his  brother 
were  as  yet  unborn.  They  waited  for  the  day  to  appear.  Then 
they  talked  together,  and  the  youngest  said :  '  Why  should  I  wait  ? 
I  will  go  into  the  world  and  begin  my  life  at  once ; '  when  the 
elder  said :  '  Not  so,  for  this  were  a  great  evil.'  But  the  younger 
gave  no  heed  to  any  wisdom ;  in  his  wickedness  he  broke  through 
his  mother's  side,  he  rent  the  wall ;  his  beginning  of  life  was  his 
mother's  death "  (488.  106).  Very  similar  is  the  Iroquois  myth 
of  the  "  Good  Mind  "  and  the  "  Bad  Mind,"  and  variants  of  this 
American  hero-myth  may  be  read  in  the  exhaustive  treatise  of 
Dr.  Brinton. 

Very  interesting  is  the  Maya  story  of  the  twins  Hun-Ahpu  and 
Xbalanque,  sons  of  the  virgin  Xquiq,  who,  fleeing  from  her  father, 
escaped  to  the  upper  world,  where  the  birth  took  place.  Of  these 
children  we  are  told  "  they  grew  in  strength,  and  performed  vari- 
ous deeds  of  prowess,  which  are  related  at  length  in  the  Popul 
Vuh  [the  folk-chronicle  of  the  Quiches  of  Guatemala],  and  were 
at  last  invited  by  the  lords  of  the  underworld  to  visit  them." 
The  chiefs  of  the  underworld  intended  to  slay  the  youths,  as  they 
had  previously  slain  their  father  and  uncle,  but  through  their 
oracular  and  magic  power  the  two  brothers  pretended  to  be 
burned,  and,  when  their  ashes  were  thrown  into  the  river,  they 
rose  from  its  waters  and  slew  the  lords  of  the  nether  world.    At 

The  Child  as  ffero.  Adventurer.  345 

this  the  inhabitants  of  Hades  fled  in  terror  and  the  twins  "  re- 
leased the  prisoners  and  restored  to  life  those  who  had  been  slain. 
The  latter  rose  to  the  sky  to  become  the  countless  stars,  while 
Hunhun-Ahpu  and  Vukub-Hun-Ahpu  [father  and  uncle  of  the 
twins]  ascended  to  dwell,  the  one  in  the  sun,  the  other  in  the 
moon"  (411.124). 

Bom  of  a  virgin  mother  were  also  Quetzalcoatl,  the  culture- 
hero  of  Mexico,  and  other  similar  characters  whose  lives  and  deeds 
may  be  read  in  Dr.  Brinton's  American  Hero-Myths. 

From  the  Indians  of  the  Pueblo  of  Isleta,  New  Mexico,  Dr. 
A.  S.  Gatschet  has  obtained  the  story  of  the  "  Antelope-Boy,'*  who, 
as  the  champion  of  the  White  Pueblo,  defeated  the  Hawk,  the 
champion  of  the  Yellow  Pueblo,  in  a  race  around  the  horizon. 
The  "  Antelope-Boy  "  was  a  babe  who  had  been  left  on  the  prairie 
by  its  uncle,  and  brought  up  by  a  female  antelope  who  discovered 
it.  After  some  trouble,  the  people  succeeded  in  catching  him  and 
restoring  him  to  his  mother.  Another  version  of  the  same  tale 
has  it  that  "  the  boy-child,  left  by  his  uncle  and  mother  upon  the 
prairie,  was  carried  to  the  antelopes  by  a  coyote,  after  which 
a  mother-antelope,  who  had  lost  her  fawn,  adopted  the  tiny 
stranger  as  her  own.  By  an  ingenious  act  of  the  mother-antelope 
the  boy  was  surrendered  again  to  his  real  human  mother;  for 
when  the  circle  of  the  hunters  grew  smaller  around  the  herd,  the 
antelope  took  the  boy  to  the  northeast,  where  his  mother  stood  in 
a  white  robe.  At  last  these  two  were  the  only  ones  left  within 
the  circle,  and  when  the  antelope  broke  through  the  line  on 
the  northeast,  the  boy  followed  her  and  fell  at  the  feet  of  his 
own  human  mother,  who  sprang  forward  and  clasped  him  in  her 
arms."  The  Yellow  Pueblo  people  were  wizards,  and  so  confident 
were  they  of  success  that  they  proposed  that  the  losing  party, 
their  villages,  property,  etc.,  should  be  burnt.  The  White  Pueblo 
people  agreed,  and,  having  won  the  victory,  proceeded  to  exter- 
minate the  conquered.  One  of  the  wizards,  however,  managed  to 
hide  away  and  escape  being  burned,  and  this  is  why  there  are 
wizards  living  at  this  very  day  (239.  213,  217). 

In  the  beginning,  says  the  Zuni  account  of  the  coming  of  men 
upon  earth,  they  dwelt  in  the  lowermost  of  four  subterranean 
caverns,  called  the  "Four  Wombs  of  the  World,"  and  as  they 
began  to  increase  in  numbers  they  became  very  unhappy,  and  the 

346  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

children  of  the  wise  men  among  them  besought  them  to  deliver 
them  from  such  a  life  of  misery.  Then,  it  is  said,  "  The  '  Holder 
of  the  Paths  of  Life,'  the  Sun-Father,  created  from  his  own  being 
two  children,  who  fell  to  earth  for  the  good  of  all  beings.  The 
Sun-Father  endowed  these  children  with  immortal  youth,  with 
power  even  as  his  own  power,  and  created  for  them  a  bow  (the 
Rainbow)  and  an  arrow  (the  Lightning).  For  them  he  made  also 
a  shield  like  unto  his  own,  of  magic  power,  and  a  knife  of  flint. 
.  .  .  These  children  cut  the  face  of  the  world  with  their  magic 
knife,  and  were  borne  down  upon  their  shield  into  the  caverns  in 
which  all  men  dwelt.  There,  as  the  leaders  of  men,  they  lived 
with  their  children,  mankind."  They  afterwards  led  men  into 
the  second  cavern,  then  into  the  third,  and  finally  into  the  fourth, 
whence  they  made  their  way,  guided  by  the  two  children,  to  the 
world  of  earth,  which,  having  been  covered  with  water,  was  damp 
and  unstable  and  filled  with  huge  monsters  and  beasts  of  prey. 
The  two  children  continued  to  lead  men  "Eastward,  toward  the 
Home  of  the  Sun-Father,"  and  by  their  magic  power,  acting  under 
the  directions  of  their  creator,  the  Sun-Father,  they  caused  the 
surface  of  the  earth  to  harden  and  petrified  the  fierce  animals 
who  sought  to  destroy  the  children  of  men  (which  accounts  for 
the  fossils  of  to-day  and  the  animal-like  forms  of  rocks  and 
boulders)  (424.  13).  Of  this  people  it^could  have  been  said  most 
appropriately,  "  a  little  child  shall  lead  them." 

Mr.  Lummis'  volume  of  folk-tales  of  the  Pueblos  Indians  of 
New  Mexico  contains  many  stories  of  the  boy  as  hero  and  adven- 
turer. The  "  Antelope-Boy "  who  defeats  the  champion  of  the 
witches  in  a  foot-race  (302.  12-21) ;  Nah-chu-rii-chu  (the  "  Bluish 
Light  of  the  Dawn "),  the  parentless  hero,  "  wise  in  medicine," 
who  married  the  moon,  lost  her,  but  found  her  again  after  great 
trouble  (302.  53-70) ;  the  boy  who  cursed  the  lake  (302. 108-121) ; 
the  boy  and  the  eagle,  etc.  (302.  122-126).  But  the  great  figures 
in  story  at  the  Pueblo  of  Queres  are  the  "  hero-twins,"  Maw-Sahv 
and  06-yah-wee,  sons  of  the  Sun,  wonderful  and  astonishing  chil- 
dren, of  whom  it  is  said  that  "  as  soon  as  they  were  a  minute  old, 
they  were  big  and  strong  and  began  playing  "  (302.  207).  Their 
mother  died  when  they  were  born,  but  was  restored  to  life  by  the 
Crow-Mother,  and  returned  home  with  her  two  children,  whose 
hero-deeds,  "  at  an  age  when  other  boys  were  toddling  about  the 

The  Child  as  Hero^  Adventurer.  347 

house,"  were  the  cause  of  infinite  wonder.  They  killed  the 
Giant- Woman  and  the  Giant-Baby,  and  performed  unnumbered 
other  acts  of  heroism  while  yet  in  childhood  and  youth.  To  the 
same  cycle  seems  to  belong  also  the  story  of  "  The  Magic  Hide- 
and-Seek"  (302.87-98). 

From  the  Pueblo  of  Sia,  Mrs.  Stevenson  has  recorded  the  story 
of  the  twins  Tkla'asewe  and  U'yuuyewg,  sons  of  the  Sun-Father 
by  the  virgin  Ko'chinako;  how  they  visited  their  father,  and  the 
adventures  that  befell  them  on  their  long  journey;  how  they 
killed  the  wolf  of  the  lake,  the  cougar,  the  bear,  the  bad  eagles, 
burned  the  cruel  witch,  and  other  great  enemies  of  the  people, 
organized  the  cult  societies,  and  then  "  made  their  home  in  the 
Sandia  Mountain,  where  they  have  since  remained."  At  the 
entrance  to  the  crater,  we  are  told,  "  the  diminutive  footprints  of 
these  boys  are  yet  to  be  seen  by  the  good  of  heart "  (538.  43-57). 
Among  the  American  Indians  it  is  difficult,  if  not  impossible,  to 
distinguish  the  child-hero  from  the  divinity  whom  he  so  often 
closely  resembles. 


The  Child  as  Fetich,  Deity,  God. 

Dhildhood  shall  be  all  divine.  —  Proctor. 

A  baby's  feet,  like  sea-shells  pink, 

Might  tempt,  should  Heaven  see  meet. 
An  angel's  lips  to  kiss.  —  Swinburne. 

Their  glance  might  cast  out  pain  and  sin, 

Their  speech  make  dumb  the  wise, 
By  mute  glad  godhead  felt  within 

A  baby's  eyes.  —  Swinburne. 

The  Child  as  Fetich. 

It  is  easy  to  understand  how,  among  barbarous  or  semi-civilized 
peoples,  children  born  deformed  or  with  any  strange  marking  or 
defect  should  be  looked  upon  as  objects  of  fear  or  reverence, 
fetiches  in  fact.  Post  informs  us  regarding  certain  African 
tribes  (127.  I.  285,  286)  :  — 

"The  Wanika,  Wakikuyu,  and  Wazegua  kill  deformed  chil- 
dren ;  throttle  them  in  the  woods  and  bury  them.  The  belief  is, 
that  the  evil  spirit  of  a  dead  person  has  got  into  them,  and  such 
a  child  would  be  a  great  criminal.  The  Somali  let  misformed 
children  live,  but  regard  them  with  superstitious  fear.  In  An- 
gola all  children  born  deformed  are  considered  'fetich.'  In 
Loango  dwarfs  and  albinos  are  regarded  as  the  property  of  the 
king,  and  are  looked  upon  as  sacred  and  inviolable." 

Here  we  see  at  least  some  of  the  reasons  which  have  led  up  to 
the  eulogy  and  laudation,  as  well  as  to  the  dread  suspicion,  of  the 
dwarf  and  the  hunchback,  appearing  in  so  many  folk-tales.  We 
might  find  also,  perhaps,  some  dim  conception  of  the  occasional 
simultaneity  of  genius  with  physical  defects  or  deformities,   a 


The  Child  as  Fetich,  Deity,  God.  349 

fact  of  wliich  a  certain  modern  school  of  criminal  sociologists 
has  made  so  much. 

Concerning  albinos  Schultze  says  (529.  82)  :  — 

"In  Bornoo  albinos  are  objects  of  fear,  as  beings  gifted  with 
snpematiiral  power ;  in  Senegambia,  if  they  are  slaves,  they  are 
given  their  freedom,  are  exempted  from  all  labour,  and  are  cheer- 
fully supported  at  others'  expense.  In  Congo  the  king  keeps 
them  in  his  palace  as  *  fetiches  which  give  him  influence  over  the 
Europeans.'  They  are  held  in  such  respect  that  they  may  take 
whatever  they  will ;  and  he  who  is  deprived  of  his  property  by 
them,  esteems  himself  honoured.  In  Loango  they  are  esteemed 
above  the  Gangas  (priests),  and  their  hair  is  sold  at  a  high  price 
as  a  holy  relic.  Thus  may  a  man  become  a  fetich."  At  Moree, 
in  West  Africa,  Ellis  informs  us,  "  Albinos  are  sacred  to  Aynf wa, 
and,  on  arriving  at  puberty,  become  her  priests  and  priestesses. 
They  are  regarded  by  the  people  as  the  mouth-pieces  of  the 
goddess."  At  Coomassie  a  boy-prisoner  was  painted  white  and 
consecrated  as  a  slave  to  the  tutelary  deity  of  the  market  (438. 
49,  88).  Coeval  with  their  revival  of  primitive  language-moulds 
in  their  slang,  many  of  our  college  societies  and  sporting  clubs 
and  associations  have  revived  the  beliefs  just  mentioned  in  their 
mascots  and  luck-bringers  —  the  other  side  of  the  shield  showing 
the  "Jonahs"  and  those  fetiches  of  evil  import.  Even  great 
actors,  stock-brokers,  and  politicians  have  their  mascots.  We 
hear  also  of  mascots  of  regiments  and  of  ships.  A  little  hunch- 
back, a  dwarf,  a  negro  boy,  an  Italian  singing-girl,  a  child  dressed 
in  a  certain  style  or  colour,  all  serve  as  mascots.  Criminals  and 
gamblers,  those  members  of  the  community  most  nearly  allied  in 
thought  and  action  with  barbarous  and  primitive  man,  have  their 
mascots,  and  it  is  from  this  source  that  we  derive  the  word, 
which  Andran,  in  his  opera  La  Mascotte,  has  lifted  to  a  some- 
what higher  plane,  and  now  each  family  may  have  a  mascot,  a 
fetich,  to  cause  them  to  prosper  and  succeed  in  life  (390  (1888). 
Ill,  112). 

One  of  the  derivations  suggested  for  this  word,  viz.  from  masquS 
=coiffe,  in  the  expression  n^  coiffe,  '•'bom  with  a  caul,"  would 
make  the  mascot  to  have  been  originally  a  child  born  with  the 
caul  on  its  head,  a  circumstance  which,  as  the  French  phrase  itre 
n6  coiffe,  '*  to  be  born  lucky,"  indicates,  betokened  happiness  and 

350  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

good-fortune  for  the  being  thus  coming  into  the  world.  In  Ger- 
man the  caul  is  termed  "  Gllickshaube,"  "  lucky  hood,"  and  Ploss 
gives  many  illustrations  of  the  widespread  belief  in  the  luck 
that  falls  to  the  share  of  the  child  born  with  one.  A  very  curi- 
ous custom  exists  in  Oldenburg,  where  a  boy,  in  order  to  be  fortu- 
nate in  love,  carries  his  caul  about  with  him  (326.  I.  12-14). 

Other  accidents  or  incidents  of  birth  have  sufficed  to  make 
fetiches  of  children.  Twins  and  triplets  are  regarded  in  many 
parts  of  the  world  as  smacking  of  the  supernatural  and  uncanny. 
The  various  views  of  the  races  of  mankind  upon  this  subject 
are  given  at  length  in  Ploss  (326.  II.  267-275),  and  Post  has 
much  to  say  of  the  treatment  of  twins  in  Africa.  In  Unyoro 
twins  are  looked  upon  as  "  luck-bringers,  not  only  for  the  family, 
but  for  the  whole  village  as  well.  Great  feasts  are  held  in  their 
honour,  and  if  they  die,  the  house  in  which  they  were  born  is 
burned  down."  Among  the  Ishogo,  from  fear  that  one  of  the 
pair  may  die,  twins  are  practically  isolated  and  taboo  until  grown 
up  (127.  I.  282,  284). 

To  the  Ovaherero,  according  to  Ploss,  "the  birth  of  twins  is 
the  greatest  piece  of  good-fortune  that  can  fall  to  the  lot  of 
mortals,"  and  such  an  event  makes  the  parents  "  holy."  Among 
this  Kaffir  people,  moreover:  "Every  father  of  twins  has  the 
right  to  act  as  substitute  for  the  village-chief  in  the  exercise  of 
his  priestly  functions.  If  the  chief  is  not  present,  he  can,  for 
example,  exorcise  a  sick  person.  Even  the  twin-child  himself 
has  all  priestly  privileges.  Por  a  twin  boy  there  is  no  forbidden 
flesh,  no  forbidden  milk,  and  no  one  would  ever  venture  to  curse 
him.  If  any  one  should  kill  a  twin-child,  the  murderer's  whole 
village  would  be  destroyed.  As  a  twin-boy,  he  inherits  the 
priestly  dignity  at  the  death  of  the  chief,  and  even  when  an  older 
brother  succeeds  the  father  as  possessor  of  the  village,  it  is,  how- 
ever, named  after  the  younger  twin-brother,  who  is  clothed  with 
the  priestly  dignity  "  (326.  II.  271-274). 

Among  the  Songish  Indians  of  Vancouver  Island,  it  is  believed 
that  "twins,  immediately  after  their  birth,  possess  supernatural 
powers.  They  are  at  once  taken  to  the  woods  and  washed  in 
a  pond  in  order  to  become  ordinary  men."  The  Shushwap  In- 
dians believe  that  twins  retain  this  supernatural  power  through- 
out their  lives  (404.  22,  92). 

The  Child  as  Fetich,  Deity,  God.  351 

Of  children  whose  upper  teeth  break  out  before  the  lower, 
some-  primitive  tribes  are  iu  fear  and  dread,  hastening  to  kill 
them,  as  do  the  Basutos,  Wakikuyu,  Wanika,  "Wazegua,  and 
Wasawahili.  Among  the  Wazaramo,  another  African  people, 
such  children  "  are  either  put  to  death,  given  away,  or  sold  to  a 
slave-holder,  for  the  belief  is  that  through  them  sickness,  mis- 
fortime,  and  death  would  enter  the  house."  The  Arabs  of  Zan- 
zibar, "  after  reading  from  the  Koran,  administer  to  such  a  child 
an  oath  that  it  will  do  no  harm,  making  it  nod  assent  with  its 
head  "  (127.  I.  287). 

From  what  has  preceded,  we  can  see  how  hard  it  is  sometimes 
to  draw  the  line  between  the  man  as  fetich  and  the  priest,  be- 
tween the  divinity  and  the  medicine-man. 

Fetiches  of  Criminals. 

It  is  a  curious  fact  that  St  Nicholas  is  at  once  the  patron  saint 
of  children  and  of  thieves,  —  the  latter  even  Shakespeare  calls 
"  St.  Nicholas's  clerks."  And  with  robbers  and  the  generality  of 
evil-doers  the  child,  dead  or  alive,  is  much  of  a  fetich.  Anstey's 
Burglar  Bill  is  humorously  exaggerated,  but  there  is  a  good  deal 
of  superstition  about  childhood  lingering  in  the  mind  of  the  law- 
breaker. Strack  (361)  has  discussed  at  considerable  length  the 
child  (dead)  as  fetich  among  the  criminal  classes,  especially  the 
use  made  of  the  blood,  the  hand,  the  heart,  etc.  Among  the  thiev- 
ing fraternity  in  Middle  Franconia  it  is  believed  that  "blood 
taken  up  from  the  genitals  of  an  innocent  boy  on  three  pieces  of 
wood,  and  carried  about  the  person,  renders  one  invisible  when 
stealing"  (361.  41).  The  same  power  was  ascribed  to  the  eating 
of  the  hearts  (raw)  of  unborn  children  cut  out  of  the  womb  of  the 
mother.  Male  children  only  would  serve,  and  from  the  confession 
of  the  band  of  the  robber-chief  "  King  Daniel,"  who  so  terrified 
all  Ermeland  in  the  middle  of  the  seventeenth  century,  it  would 
appear  that  they  had  already  killed  for  this  purpose  no  fewer  than 
fourteen  women  with  child  (361.  59).  As  late  as  1815,  at  Heide 
in  Xorthditmarsch,  one  Claus  Dau  was  executed  for  "having 
killed  three  children  and  eaten  their  hearts  with  the  belief  of 
making  himself  invisible  "  (361.  61). 

This  eating  of  little  children's  hearts  was  thought  not  alone  to 

352  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

confer  the  gift  of  invisibility,  but  "  when  portions  of  nine  hearts 
had  been  eaten  by  any  one,  he  could  not  be  seized,  no  matter  what 
theft  or  crime  he  committed,  and,  if  by  chance  he  should  fall  into 
the  power  of  his  enemies,  he  cotdd  make  himself  invisible  and 
thus  escape."  The  eating  of  three  hearts  is  credited  with  the 
same  power  in  an  account  of  a  robber  of  the  Lower  Ehine,  in 
1645.  In  the  middle  of  the  last  century,  there  was  executed  at 
Bayreuth  a  man  *'  who  had  killed  eight  women  with  child,  cut 
them  open,  and  eaten  the  warm,  palpitating  hearts  of  the  chil- 
dren, in  the  belief  that  he  would  be  able  to  fly,  if  he  ate  the 
hearts  of  nine  such  children  "  (361.  58). 

Only  a  few  years  ago  (April,  1888),  at  Oldenburg,  a  workman 
named  Bliefernicht  was  tried  for  having  killed  two  girls,  aged  six 
and  seven  years.  The  examination  of  the  remains  showed  that 
"  one  of  the  bodies  not  only  had  the  neck  completely  cut  through, 
but  the  belly  cut  open,  so  that  the  entrails,  lungs,  and  liver  were 
exposed.  A  large  piece  of  flesh  had  been  cut  out  of  the  buttocks 
and  was  nowhere  to  be  found,  the  man  having  eaten  it.  His 
belief  was,  that  whoever  ate  of  the  flesh  of  innocent  girls,  could 
do  anything  in  the  world  without  any  one  being  able  to  make  him 
answer  for  it"  (361.  62). 

Strack  has  much  to  say  of  the  main-de-gloire  and  the  chandelle 
magique.  Widespread  among  thieves  is  the  belief  in  the  "  magic 
taper."  At  Meesow,  in  the  Regenwald  district  of  Pomerania, 
these  tapers  are  made  of  the  entrails  of  unborn  children,  can  only 
be  extinguished  with  milk,  and,  as  long  as  they  burn,  no  one  in 
the  house  to  be  robbed  is  able  to  wake.  It  is  of  the  hands,  how- 
ever, of  unbaptized  or  unborn  children  that  these  tapers  were 
most  frequently  made.  At  Nlirnberg,  in  1577  and  1701,  there 
were  executed  two  monsters  who  killed  many  women  in  their 
pursuit  for  this  fetich ;  at  Vechta,  in  Oldenburg,  the  finger  of  an 
unborn  child  "  serves  with  thieves  to  keep  asleep  the  people  of 
the  house  they  have  entered,  if  it  is  simply  laid  on  the  table  " ; 
at  Konow,  the  fat  of  a  woman  with  child  is  used  to  make  a  simi- 
lar taper.  In  the  XJkrain  district  of  Poland,  it  is  believed  that 
the  hand  of  the  corpse  of  a  five-year-old  child  opens  all  locks 
(361.  42).  This  belief  in  the  hand-of-glory  and  the  magic  candle 
may  be  due  to  the  fact  that  such  children,  being  unbaptized  and 
unborn,  were  presumed  to  be  under  the  influence  of  the  Evil  One 

The  Child  as  Fetich,  Deity,  God.  353 

himself.  Of  the  wider  belief  in  the  chandelle  magique  and  main- 
de-gloire  (as  obtained  from  criminal  adults)  in  Germany,  France, 
Spain,  etc.,  nothing  need  be  said  here. 

At  Konow,  in  the  Kammin  district  of  Pomerania,  "  if  a  thief 
takes  an  unborn  child,  dries  it,  puts  it  in  a  little  wooden  box,  and 
carries  it  on  his  person,  he  is  rendered  invisible  to  everybody,  and 
can  steal  at  will "  (361.  41). 

The  history  of  the  robbers  of  the  Rhine  and  the  Main,  of 
Westphalia,  the  Mark,  and  Silesia,  with  whom  the  child  appears 
so  often  as  a  fetich,  evince  a  bestiality  and  inhumanity  almost 
beyond  the  power  of  belief. 


But  it  is  not  to  the  criminal  classes  alone  that  superstitions  of 
this  nature  belong.  Of  the  alchemy,  magic,  black  art,  sorcery, 
and  "  philosophy  "  of  the  Dark  Ages  of  Europe,  the  practice  of 
which  lingered  in  some  places  well  on  into  the  seventeenth  cen- 
tury, horrible  stories  are  told,  in  which  children,  their  bodies, 
their  souls  even,  appear  as  fetishes.  The  baptism  of  blood  is  said 
still  to  be  practised  in  parts  of  Russia  by  parents  "  to  preserve 
their  child  from  the  temptations  of  the  prince  of  darkness,"  and 
in  1874,  "  a  country-school  teacher  of  the  Strassburg  district,  and 
his  wife,  upon  the  advice  of  a  somnambulist,  struck  their  own 
aunt  with  the  fire-tongs  until  the  blood  flowed,  with  which  they 
sprinkled  their  child  supposed  to  have  been  bewitched  by  her  " 
(361.  73).  Here  it  is  the  blood  of  adults  that  is  used,  but  the 
practice  demands  the  child's  also.  According  to  C.  F.  A.  Hoff- 
mann (1817),  there  lived  in  Xaples  "  an  old  doctor  who  had  chil- 
dren by  several  women,  which  he  inhumanly  killed,  with  peculiar 
ceremonies  and  rites,  cutting  the  breast  open,  tearing  out  the 
heart,  and  from  its  blood  preparing  precious  drops  which  were 
preservative  against  all  sickness."  Well  known  is  the  story  of 
Elizabeth  Bathori,  a  Hungarian  woman  of  the  early  part  of  the 
seventeenth  century,  who,  it  is  said,  receiving  on  her  face  a  drop 
of  blood  which  spurted  from  a  waiting-girl  whose  ears  she  had 
severely  boxed,  and  noticing  afterward,  when  she  wiped  it  away, 
that  her  skin  at  that  spot  appeared  to  be  more  beautiful,  whiter, 
and  finer  than  before,  resolved  to  bathe  her  face  and  her  whole 
body  in  human  blood,  in  order  to  increase  her  charms  and  her 

2  A 

354  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

beauty.  Before  her  monstrous  actions  were  discovered,  she  is 
thought  to  have  caused  the  death  of  some  650  girls  with  the  aid 
of  accomplices  (361.  46). 

Fetiches  of  Religion. 

The  use  of  human  blood  in  ritual  has  been  treated  of  in  detail 
by  Strack,  and  in  his  pages  many  references  to  children  will  be 
found.  He  also  discusses  in  detail  the  charge  of  the  Anti-Semit- 
ics  that  the  Jews  kill  little  children  of  their  Christian  neigh- 
bours for  the  purpose  of  using  their  blood  and  certain  parts  of 
their  bodies  in  religious  rites  and  ceremonies,  showing  alike  the 
antiquity  of  this  libel  as  well  as  its  baselessness.  Against  the 
early  Christians  like  charges  appear  to  have  been  made  by 
the  heathen,  and  later  on  by  the  Saracens ;  and  indeed,  this 
charge  is  one  which  is  generally  levelled  at  new-comers  or  inno- 
vators in  the  early  history  of  Christian  religion  and  civilization. 
Strack  points  out  also  that,  during  the  contest  of  the  Dominicans 
and  Franciscans  in  Bern,  in  1507  a.d.,  it  was  charged  that  the 
former  used  the  blood  of  Jewish  children,  the  eyebrows  and  hair 
of  children,  etc.,  in  their  secret  rites  (361.  68,  69). 

Brewer,  who  gives  little  credit  to  the  stories,  cites  the  accoimt 
of  numerous  crucifixions  of  children  alleged  to  have  been  carried 
out  by  Jews  in  various  parts  of  Europe,  for  the  purpose  of  using 
their  flesh  and  blood  in  their  rituals,  or  merely  out  of  hatred  to 
the  Christian  religion.  The  principal  cases  are :  Andrew  of  Inns- 
pruck ;  Albert  of  Swirnazen  in  Podolia,  aged  four  (1598)  ;  St. 
Hugh  of  Lincoln,  aged  eleven  (1255) ;  St.  Janot  of  Cologne 
(1475)  ;  St.  Michael  of  Sappendelf  in  Bavaria,  aged  four  and  one- 
half  (1340) ;  St.  -Eichard  of  Pontoise,  aged  twelve  (1182) ;  St. 
Simon  of  Trent,  aged  twenty-nine  months  and  three  days  (1475) ; 
St.  William  of  Norwich,  aged  twelve  (1137) ;  St.  Wernier  (Gar- 
nier),  aged  thirteen  (1227).  The  Acta  Sanctorum  of  the  Bollandists 
give  a  long  list  of  nameless  children,  who  are  claimed  to  have 
suffered  a  like  fate  in  Spain,  France,  Hungary,  Austria,  Germany, 
Italy,  etc.  The  later  charges,  such  as  those  made  in  the  cele- 
brated case  of  the  girl  Esther  Solymasi,  whose  death  was  alleged 
to  have  been  brought  about  by  the  Jews  of  Tisza-Eszlar  in  Hun- 
gary, in  1882,  are  investigated  by  Strack,  and  shown  to  be  utterly 

The  Child  as  Fetich,  Deity,  God.  355 

without  foundation  of  fact,  merely  the  product  of  frenzied  Anti- 
Semitism  (191.  171-175). 

The  use  of  blood  and  the  sacrifice  of  little  children,  as  well  as 
other  fetichistic  practices,  ha^e  been  charged  against  some  of  the 
secret  religious  sects  of  modern  Russia. 

Dead  Children. 

In  Ann  am  the  natives  "surround  the  beds  of  their  children 
suffering  from  small-pox  with  nets,  and  never  leave  them  alone, 
fearing  lest  a  demon,  in  the  form  of  a  strange  child,  should  sneak 
in  and  take  possession  of  them  "  (397.  169,  242).  This  belief  is 
akin  with  the  widespread  superstitions  with  respect  to  change- 
lings and  other  metamorphoses  of  childhood,  to  the  discussion  of 
which  Ploss  and  Hartland  have  devoted  much  space  and  atten- 
tion, the  latter,  indeed,  setting  apart  some  forty  pages  of  his  book 
on  fairy-tales  to  the  subject 

In  Devonshire,  England,  it  was  formerly  believed  lucky  to  put 
a  stUlbom  child  into  an  open  grave,  "  as  it  was  considered  a  sure 
passport  to  heaven  for  the  next  person  buried  there."  In  the 
Border  country,  on  the  other  hand,  it  is  unlucky  to  tread  on  the 
graves  of  unbaptized  children,  and  "  he  who  steps  on  the  grave 
of  a  stillborn  or  imbaptized  child,  or  of  one  who  has  been 
overlaid  by  its  nurse,  subjects  himself  to  the  fatal  disease  of 
the  grave-merels,  or  grave-scab."  In  connection  with  this  belief, 
Henderson  cites  the  following  popular  verses,  of  considerable 
antiquity :  — 

"  Woe  to  the  babie  that  ne'er  saw  the  snn, 
All  alane  and  alane,  oh  ! 
His  bodie  shall  lie  in  the  kirk  'neath  the  rain. 
All  alane  and  alane,  oh  ! 

"  His  grave  must  be  diig  at  the  foot  o'  the  wall. 
All  alane  and  alane,  oh  ! 
And  the  foot  that  treadeth  his  body  upon 
Shall  have  scab  that  will  eat  to  the  bane,  oh ! 

"And  it  ne'er  will  be  cnred  by  doctor  on  earth, 
Tho'  every  one  should  tent  him,  oh  ! 
He  shall  tremble  and  die  like  the  elf-shot  eye. 
And  return  from  whence  he  came,  oh  I"    (469.  13). 

356  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

Among  the  natives  of  the  Andaman  Islands,  after  a  dead  child 
has  been  buried  and  the  parents  have  mourned  for  about  three 
months,  the  remains  are  exhumed,  cleansed  at  the  seashore  by 
the  father,  and  brought  back  to  the  hut,  where  the  bones  are 
broken  up  to  make  necklaces,  which  are  distributed  to  friends 
and  relatives  as  mementos.  Moreover,  "  the  mother,  after  paint- 
ing the  skull  with  Jcdi-ob-  [a  mixture  of  yellow  ochre,  oil,  etc.] 
and  decorating  it  with  small  shells  attached  to  pieces  of  string, 
hangs  it  round  her  neck  with  a  netted  chain,  called  rdb-.  After 
the  first  few  days  her  husband  often  relieves  her  by  wearing  it 
himself"  (498.  74,75). 

According  to  Lumholtz,  "  a  kind  of  mummy,  dried  by  the  aid 
of  fire  and  smoke,  is  also  found  in  Australia.  Male  children  are 
most  frequently  prepared  in  this  manner.  The  corpse  is  then 
packed  into  a  bundle,  which  is  carried  for  some  time  by  the 
mother.  She  has  it  with  her  constantly,  and  at  night  sleeps  with 
it  at  her  side.  After  about  six  months,  when  nothing  but  the 
bones  remain,  she  buries  it  in  the  earth.  Full-grown  men  are 
sometimes  treated  in  this  manner,  particularly  the  bodies  of 
great  heroes  "  (495.  278). 

Among  the  western  Eskimo,  "  the  mother  who  loses  her  nurs- 
ling places  the  poor  *  papoose '  in  a  beautifully  ornamented  box, 
which  she  fastens  on  her  back  and  carries  about  her  for  a  long 
while.  Often  she  takes  the  miserable  mummy  in  her  arms  and 
makes  it  a  kind  of  toilette,  disinfecting  it,  and  removing  the 
mouldiness  "  (523.  102). 

According  to  the  traveller  Lander,  a  woman  of  Yoruba,  in 
Africa,  "  carries  for  some  time  a  wooden  figure  of  her  lost  child, 
and,  when  she  eats,  puts  part  of  her  food  to  its  lips  " ;  and  Catlin 
writes  of  the  Mandan  Indians :  "  They  place  the  skulls  of  their 
dead  in  a  circle.  Each  wife  knows  the  skull  of  her  former  hus- 
band or  child,  and  there  seldom  passes  a  day  that  she  does  not 
visit  it  with  a  dish  of  the  best  cooked  food.  .  .  .  There  is 
scarcely  an  hour  in  a  pleasant  day,  but  more  or  less  of  these 
women  may  be  seen  sitting  or  lying  by  the  skull  of  their  dead 
child  or  husband,  talking  to  it  in  the  most  pleasant  and  endear- 
ing language  they  can  use  (as  they  were  wont  to  do  in  former 
days),  and  seemingly  getting  an  answer  back  "  (Spencer,  Princ. 
of  Soc,  1882,  I.  332,  326). 


The  Child  as  Fetich,  Deity,  God.  357 

Of  the  Nishinam  Indians  of  California,  Mr.  Powers  tells  us : 
"Wheii  a  Nishinam  wife  is  childless,  her  sympathizing  female 
friends  sometimes  make  out  of  grass  a  rude  image  of  a  baby,  and 
tie  it  La  a  miniature  baby-basket,  according  to  the  Indian  custom. 
Some  day,  when  the  woman  and  her  husband  are  not  at  home, 
they  carry  this  grass  baby  and  lay  it  in  their  ^ngwam.  When 
she  returns  and  finds  it,  she  takes  it  up,  holds  it  to  her  breast, 
pretends  to  nurse  it,  and  sings  it  lullaby  songs.  All  this  is  done 
as  a  kind  of  conjuration,  which  they  hope  will  have  the  effect  of 
causing  the  barren  woman  to  become  fertile  "  (519.  318). 

Of  certain  Indians  of  the  northern  United  States  we  read,  in 
the  early  years  of  the  present  century :  '•  The  traders  on  the  river 
St.  Peters,  Mississippi,  report  that  some  of  them  have  seen  in 
the  possession  of  the  Indians  a  petrified  child,  which  they  have 
often  wished  to  purchase ;  but  the  savages  regard  it  as  a  deity, 
and  no  inducement  could  bribe  them  to  part  with  it"  (PhUos. 
Mag.  XXIX.,  p.  5). 

Child- Worship. 

As  Count  D'Alviella  has  pointed  out,  we  have  in  the  apocryphal 
book  of  the  Wisdom  of  Solomon  the  following  interesting  passage : 
"For  a  father  afflicted  with  untimely  mourning,  when  he  hath 
made  an  image  of  his  child  soon  taken  away,  now  honoured  him 
as  a  god,  which  was  then  a  dead  man;  and  delivered  to  those 
that  were  under  him  ceremonies  and  sacrifices." 

Mrs.  Stevenson,  in  a  Zuni  tale  of  motherly  affection,  relates 
how,  in  crossing  a  river  ia  the  olden  time,  the  children  clinging 
to  their  mothers  were  transformed  into  such  ugly  and  mischiev- 
ous shapes  that  the  latter  let  many  of  them  fall  into  the  river. 
Some  held  their  children  close,  and  on  the  other  side  these  were 
restored  to  their  natural  forms.  Those  who  had  lost  their  chil- 
dren grieved  and  would  not  be  comforted ;  so  two  twin-brothers 
—  sons  of  the  sun,  they  are  called  —  went  beneath  the  waters  of 
a  lake  to  the  dwelling  of  the  children,  who  asked  them  to  tell 
how  it  fared  with  their  mothers.  Their  visitors  told  them  of  the 
grief  and  sorrow  of  the  parents,  whereupon  the  children  said : 
"Tell  our  mothers  we  are  not  dead,  but  live  and  sing  in  this 
beautiful  place,  which  is  the  home  for  them  when  they  sleep. 
They  will  wake  here  and  be  always  happy.     And  we  are  here  to 

368  The  Child  in  Folk -Thought. 

intercede  with  the  sim,  our  father,  that  he  may  give  to  our  people 
raia  and  the  fruits  of  the  earth,  and  all  that  is  good  for  them." 
Since  that  time  these  children  have  been  "  worshipped  as  ances- 
tral gods,  bearing  the  name  of  hok-ko  "  (358.  541).  This  reminds 
us  strikingly  of  the  great  Redeemer,  of  whom  it  was  said  that 
he  is  "an  Advocate  for  us  with  the  Father,"  and  who  himself 
declared :  "  In  my  Father's  house  are  many  mansions ;  if  it  were 
not  so  I  would  have  told  you;  for  I  go  to  prepare  a  place  for 

In  not  a  few  mythologies  we  meet  with  the  infant  god  in  the 
arms  of  its  mother  or  of  some  other  woman.  Of  the  goddess  of 
pity  in  the  Celestial  Empire  we  read:  "The  Cliinese  Lady  of 
Mercy  in  her  statues  is  invariably  depicted  as  young,  symmetri- 
cal, and  beautiful.  Sometimes  she  stands  or  sits  alone.  Some- 
times she  holds  an  infant  god  in  her  lap.  Sometimes  she  holds 
one,  while  a  second  plays  about  her  knee.  Another  favourite 
picture  and  statue  represents  her  standing  on  the  head  of  a  great 
serpent,  with  a  halo  about  her  face  and  brows,  and  spirits  encir- 
cling her.  In  the  sixth,  she  stands  upon  a  crescent,  awaiting  a 
bird  approaching  her  from  the  skies.  In  a  seventh,  she  stands 
smiling  at  a  beautiful  child  on  the  back  of  a  water-buffalo.  In 
an  eighth,  she  is  weeping  for  the  sins  of  either  humanity  or  the 
female  portion  of  it.  She  is  the  patron  saint  of  all  her  sex,  and 
intercedes  for  them  at  the  great  throne  of  Heaven.  She  is  a  very 
old  divinity.  The  Chinese  themselves  claim  that  she  was  wor- 
shipped six  thousand  years  ago,  and  that  she  was  the  first  deity 
made  known  to  mankind.  The  brave  Jesuit  missionaries  found 
her  there,  and  it  matters  not  her  age ;  she  is  a  credit  to  herself 
and  her  sex,  and  aids  in  cheering  the  sorrowful  and  sombre  lives 
of  millions  in  the  far  East."  We  also  find  "  the  saintly  infant 
Zen-zai,  so  often  met  with  in  the  arms  of  female  representations 
of  the  androgynous  Kwanon." 

Mi".  C.  N.  Scott,  in  his  essay  on  the  "Child-God  in  Art"  (344), 
is  hesitant  to  give  to  many  mythologies  any  real  child-worship  or 
artistic  concept  of  the  child  as  god.  Not  even  Rama  and  Krishna, 
or  the  Greek  Eros,  who  had  a  sanctuary  at  Thespise  in  Boeotia, 
are  beautiful,  sweet,  naive  child-pictures ;  much  less  even  is 
Hercules,  the  infant,  strangling  the  serpents,  or  Mercury  run- 
ning off  with  the  oxen  of  Admetus,  or  bacchic  Dionysus.     In 

The  Child  as  Fetich,  Deity,  God.  359 

Egypt,  in  the  eleventh  or  twelfth  dynasty,  we  do  find  a  family 
of  gods',  the  triad,  father  (Amun),  mother  (Maut),  child  (Khuns). 
Mr.  Scott  follows  Ruskin  in  declaring  that  classic  Greek  art  gives 
no  real  child-concept;  nor  does  Gothic  art  up  to  the  thirteenth 
century,  when  the  influence  of  Christianity  made  itself  felt,  that 
influence  which  made  art  lavish  its  genius  upon  the  Madonna  and 
the  Santo  Bambino  —  the  Virgin  and  the  Christ-Child. 

The  Christ-Child. 

The  holy  thing  that  is  to  be  born  shall  be  called  the  Son  of  God.  —  Luke  i.  35. 

There  is  born  to  you  this  day  in  the  city  of  David  a  Saviour,  which  is  anointed 
Lord.  —  Luke  ii.  11. 

Great  little  Oile  !  whose  all-embracing  birth 

Lifts  Earth  to  Heaven,  stoops  Heaven  to  Earth.  —  Richard  Crashaw. 

Our  Babe,  to  show  his  Godhead  true. 

Can  in  his  swaddling  bands  control  the  damned  crew. —  Milton. 

The  heart  of  Nature  feels  the  touch  of  Love  ; 

And  Angels  sing : 

"  The  Child  is  King ! 
See  in  his  heart  the  life  we  live  above." — E.  P.  Gould. 

During  the  nineteen  centuries  that  have  elapsed  since  Jesus 
of  Nazareth  was  born,  art  and  music,  eloquence  and  song,  have 
expended  their  best  talents  in  preserving  forever  to  us  some 
memories  of  the  life  and  deeds  of  Him  whose  religion  of  love  is 
winning  the  world.  The  treasures  of  intellectual  genius  have 
been  lavished  in  the  interpretation  and  promulgation  of  the  faith 
that  bears  his  name.  At  his  shrine  have  worshipped  the  great 
and  good  of  every  land,  and  his  name  has  penetrated  to  the  utter- 
most ends  of  the  earth. 

But  in  the  brief  record  of  his  history  that  has  come  down  to 
us,  we  read :  "  The  common  people  heard  him  gladly  "  ;  and  to 
these,  his  simple  life,  with  its  noble  consecration  and  unselfish 
aims,  appealed  immeasurably  more  even  than  to  the  greatest  and 
wisest  of  men.  This  is  evident  from  a  glance  into  the  lore  that 
has  grown  up  among  the  folk  regarding  the  birth,  life,  and  death 
of  the  Christ.  Those  legends  and  beliefs  alone  concern  us  here 
which  cluster  round  his  childhood,  —  the  tribute  of  the  lowly 


The  Christ -Child.  861 

and  the  unlearned  to  the  great  world-child,  who  was  to  usher  in 
the  Age  of  Gold,  to  him  whom  they  deemed  Son  of  God  and  Son 
of  Man,  divinely  human,  humanly  divine, 

Nature  and  the  Christ-Binh. 

The  old  heathen  mythologies  and  the  lore  of  the  ruder  races  of 
our  own  day  abound  in  tales  of  the  strange  and  wonderful  events 
that  happened  during  the  birth,  passion,  and  death  of  their  heroes 
and  divinities.  Europe,  Africa,  Asia,  America,  and  the  Isles  of 
the  Sea,  bring  us  a  vast  store  of  folk-thought  telling  of  the  sym- 
pathy of  Mother  Nature  with  her  children;  how  she  mourned 
when  they  were  sad  or  afflicted,  rejoiced  when  they  were  fortu- 
nate and  happy.  And  so  has  it  been,  in  later  ages  and  among 
more  civilized  peoples,  with  the  great  good  who  have  made  their 
influence  felt  in  the  world,  —  the  poets,  musicians,  artists,  seers, 
geniuses  of  every  kind,  who  learned  to  read  some  of  the  secrets 
of  the  universe  and  declared  them  unto  men.  They  were  a  part 
of  Nature  herself,  and  she  heralded  their  coming  graciously  and 
wept  over  them  when  they  died.  This  deep  feeling  of  kinship 
with  all  Nature  pervades  the  writings  of  many  of  our  greatest 
poets,  who  "live  not  in  themselves,"  but  are  become  "a  portion 
of  that  around  them."     In  the  beautiful  words  of  Scott :  — 

"  Call  it  not  vain  ;  they  do  not  err 
Who  say,  that,  when  the  poet  dies, 
Mute  Nature  mourns  her  worshipper, 
And  celebrates  his  obsequies ; 
Who  say,  tall  cliff,  and  cavern  lone, 
For  the  departed  bard  make  moan  ; 
That  mountains  weep  in  crystal  rill ; 
That  flowers  in  tears  of  balm  distil ; 
Through  his  loved  groves  the  breezes  sigh, 
And  oaks,  in  deeper  gi-oan,  reply ; 
And  rivers  teach  their  rushing  wave 
To  murmur  dirges  round  his  grave." 

And  with  a  holier  fervour,  even,  are  all  things  animate  and 
inanimate  said  to  feel  the  birth  of  a  great  poet,  a  hero,  a  genius, 
a  prophet ;  all  Nature  thrills  with  joy  at  his  advent  and  makes 
known  her  satisfaction  with  the  good  that  has  fallen  to  the  lot 

362  The  Child  in  Folk-Thought. 

of  earth.     With  such  men,  as  Goethe  said,  Nature  is  in  eternal 
league,  watching,  waiting  for  their  coming. 

How  Nature  must  have  rejoiced  on  that  auspicious  day,  nine- 
teen centuries  ago,  when  the  Messiah,  long  looked  for,  long 
expected,  came!  The  sacred  historians  tell  us  that  the  carol 
of  angels  heralded  his  birth  and  the  bright  star  in  the  East  led 
the  wise  men  to  the  modest  manger  where  he  lay.  Never  had 
there  been  such  gladness  abroad  in  the  world  since 

"  The  morning  stars  sang  together. 
And  all  the  sons  of  God  shouted  for  joy." 

Shakespeare,  in  Hamlet,  —  a  play  in  which  so  many  items  of 
folk-lore  are  to  be  found,  —  makes  Marcellus  say  :  — 

"  It  faded  on  the  crowing  of  the  cock. 
Some  say  that  ever  'gainst  that  season  comes 
Wherein  our  Saviour's  birth  is  celebrated, 
The  bird  of  dawning  singeth  all  night  long : 
And  then,  they  say,  no  spirit  dares  stir  abroad ; 
The  nights  are  wholesome  ;  then  no  planets  strike, 
No  fairy  takes,  nor  witch  hath  power  to  charm, 
So  hallow' d  and  so  gracious  is  the  time," 

to  which  Horatio  replies ;  — 

'*  So  have  I  heard,  and  do  in  part  believe  it." 

This  belief  in  the  holy  and  gracious  season  of  the  birth  of 
Christ,  —  a  return  to  the  old  ideas  of  the  Golden  Age  and  the 
kinship  of  all  Nature,  —  finds  briefest  expression  in  the  Monte- 
negrin saying  of  Christmas  Eve:  "To-night,  Earth  is  blended 
with  Paradise."  According  to  Bosnian  legend,  at  the  birth  of 
Christ :  "  The  sun  in  the  East  bowed  down,  the  stars  stood  still, 
the  mountains  and  the  forests  shook  and  touched  the  earth  with 
their  summits,  and  the  green  pine  tree  bent ;  heaven  and  earth 
were  bowed,"  And  when  Simeon  took  the  Holy  Child  from  the 
mother's  arms :  — 

"  The  sun  leaped  in  the  heavens  and  the  stars  around  it  danced. 
A  peace  came  over  mountain  and  forest.  Even  the  rotten  stump 
stood  straight  and  healthy  on  the  green  mountain-side.  The 
grass  was  beflowered  with  opening  blossoms,  and  incense  sweet 
as  myrrh  pervaded  upland  and  forest,  and  birds  sang  on  the 

The  Chnst-Child.  363 

mountain-top,  and  all  gave  thanks  to  the  great  God"  (Macmil- 
lan's  Mag.,  Vol.  XLIII.,  p.  362). 

Eelics  of  the  same  thoughts  crop  out  from  a  thousand  Christ- 
mas songs  and  carols  in  every  country  of  Europe,  and  in  myriads 
of  folk-songs  and  sayings  in  every  language  of  the  Continent. 

And  in  those  southern  lands,  where,  even  more  than  with  us, 
religion  and  love  are  inseparable,  the  environment  of  the  Christ- 
birth  is  transferred  to  the  beloved  of  the  human  heart,  and,  as 
the  Tuscans  sing  in  their  stomelU  (415.  104)  :  — 

'*  Qaando  nascesti  tu,  nacque  im  bel  fiore ; 
La  luna  si  fermo  di  camminare, 
Le  stelle  si  cambiaron  di  colore," 

in  Mrs.  Bus